Keb’ Mo’ brings upbeat blues, new album to Virginia

The Grammy-winning blues icon released a new album while performing for two nights at the Birchmere

There is no one better to sing the blues than Keb’ Mo’. Mo’s delightful ease means he can tell you life sucks — but with a grin and an upbeat slide guitar hook to go along. And that’s exactly what he did on Friday (Jan 21st) at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.

The second of two shows in the DC area, Mo (legal name Kevin Moore) opened the show with a laid-back and breezy rendition of “Tell Everybody I Know.” He followed immediately with fan-favorite “Life is beautiful.” Mo was accompanied by drummer Casey Wasner.

Wearing a fedora, bright green shirt, and a neon smile, the lanky Mo spent most of the night sat in a chair center stage. He was surrounded by a library of guitars from which to choose. Mo joked of his six-foot-five frame, that he was too tall for some jobs, but “Too short to be a basketball player.”

This show happened the same day as the latest album from Keb’ Mo’ dropped. Called Good To Be, Mo played the title track for the very first time during his two-show stay at the Birchmere. For the Friday audience, he premiered “62 Chevy” off the record.

Toward the middle of the show, fans started yelling out their favorites. And — litany of guitars at his disposal — the legendary blues artist obliged. “I’m a people pleaser” he said. Fan requests included “Put a Woman in Charge” and “You Don’t Have to Shave Your Legs.” They received some of the best responses of the night. As did the wry “Old Me Better.” Mo introduced it as a romance song. For the uninitiated, it’s exactly the opposite.

As Keb’ Mo’ returns to post-pandemic touring, the five-time Grammy-winning master of Mississippi music is receiving even more honors. His adoptive home of Nashville will make him a member of the Music City Walk of Fame this year. Mo joked of moving to the south from California, “I moved to Nashville and suddenly there’s pedal steel players on my records.” Clearly, that style has endeared and endured.

The relatable everyman stories about payday coming, loves coming and going, or even just living out of a suitcase seem to fit squarely in the blues space. And Keb’ Mo’ will always be around to sing about the everyday trials with a smile. Whether he’s celebrating life or bemoaning a lover, Mo sings with an attitude that will have you nodding and saying, “That’s exactly right.”

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.