This past Sunday evening Keb’ Mo’ brought his “Oklahoma” tour to, well, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City’s Tower Theatre to be exact. It was a perfect setting for Keb’s gentleman style of blues, even if the crowd at times got a little “rowdy” as he said. Seemingly nonplussed by the occasional distraction, the four-time Grammy Award winner performed a set of beautifully simple yet emotive songs, shared his wit and humor, and warmed the room with his music and charm.
Keb’ Mo’s newest album Oklahoma dropped back in June via Concord. Introducing the album’s title track, Mo’ joked with the audience, ‘What do you think I know about Oklahoma?’ ‘Very little.’ He admitted, while going on to discuss his benefit show visit after the devastating 2013 tornado that upended Moore, OK, and some of the inspiration he found amid the rubble. He then took a moment to humorously call the song’s co-writer and Oklahoma native, Dara Tucker on speaker phone. It was as “Oklahoman” a moment as you could get.
Over the course of the evening, Mo’ journeyed through his earthy and gentle back catalog of songs with ease. Seated upon a worn stool, next to a cabinet filled with “emergency habardashery” such as hats, LPs, a functioning turntable and more. With the worn wood backdrop and marque lighting, it set the tone for the relaxed front porch picking this night was. Highlights incTulsa neighbors northeast up the Turner Turnpike were no doubt grumbling about their lack of a tour stop, Keb’ Mo’ certainly gave Oklahoma City a lasting memory and a bigger picture and insight to “Oklahoma”.
Keep up with tour dates and all things Keb’ Mo’ here: https://www.kebmo.com/
Not content to simply roll in and share his poignant contemporary blues, Keb’ Mo’ also brought along the exceptional young blues talent Jontavious Willis as support. Willis captured and kept the crowd’s attention immediately with his set opening, “I’m Going Down To New Orleans to Get Me a Mojo Hand.” He never faltered in his hold on the Tower Theatre crowd. Whether it was the audience participation with “Train Song,” or the sly humor of “She Might Be Your Woman” and “Tomcat Blues.” His country blues approach immediately brought to mind my East Texas upbringings and my early discovery and appreciation for the incomparable, Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Willis’ sophomore release, “Spectacular Class” which lists the great Taj Mahal, as well as Keb’ Mo’ as it’s producers, was released earlier this year on Kind Of Blue Music and debuted at number 12 in the Billboard Blues Album Chart. The young man was quite a talent, and one I expect we’ll all be hearing more from soon. Discover Jontavious Willis for yourself by visiting: http://jontaviouswillis.com/