VPAC Scoop column: Keb’ Mo’ and the ‘Hot Pink Blues’

Ruthie Hamrick
VPAC Scoop
The Keb' Mo' Band comes to Beaver Creek as part of the Vilar Performing Arts Center's Summer Series on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $78, on sale now.
Special to the Daily |

Editor’s note: From time to time, members of the Vilar Performing Arts Center community will provide insights into upcoming art, music and dance performances at the 535-seat theater in Beaver Creek Village. This week, the Vilar Performing Art Center’s Ruthie Hamrick previews the Keb’ Mo’ Band concert on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Keb’ Mo’ is no stranger to the Vilar Performing Arts Center — he’s a Beaver Creek favorite, and we just can’t get enough of him. The three-time Grammy Award-winning blues musician will triumphantly return to the Vail Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m.

You’d expect Keb’ Mo’ to be among the most prolific entertainers on our list, but he’s only been on the music scene since the mid-1990s. When you hold that up against our previous performances this year — such as Lonestar’s 20-year anniversary performance, Robert Cray’s four decades of touring or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 50-year anniversary tour — Keb’ Mo’ seems almost like a newcomer.

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Creativity and the blues

The true answer is that he’s busy paving his own legacy. On July 26, Keb’ Mo’ was part of a special tribute to B.B. King in Beverly Hills. The respect between the two is mutual, as King has also recorded one of Keb’ Mo’s songs. You can feel that Keb’ Mo’ looks up to this blues great, but certainly stands out in his own right. How does he do that? By being one of the most creative blues musicians touring today.

Beyond King, many artists whom you may not expect have also recorded Mo’s songs, including the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer and Buddy Guy, to name a few.

Keb’ Mo’s guitar playing has even inspired leading instrument maker Gibson Brands to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar and Martin Guitars to issue the HD-28KM Keb’ Mo’ Limited Edition Signature model.

Recently, when preparing to release his latest double live album, which captured the essence of his 2015 tour, he instructed his team to “make it hot pink.” And that’s exactly what happened with “That Hot Pink Blues Album,” released in April. The album includes songs “Tell Everybody I Know,” “Life is Beautiful” and “The Old Me Better.” His charming response to The Beatles’ “White Album” or Prince’s “Black Album” is a tribute to the innovative spirit of Keb’ Mo’, the spirit that we’ve invited back to Beaver Creek.

Keb’ Mo’ must never sleep, as he continually has time to write, compose, record and tour, all while remaining extremely involved with the Playing For Change movement, which was created to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music. He is truly one artist we will always be excited for and honored to welcome back to our community.

Ruthie Hamrick is the marketing manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

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