Keb’ Mo’: No Nashville Blues

Keb' Mo' / Photo by Meghan Aileen Photography

Keb' Mo' / Photo by Meghan Aileen Photography

Keb’ Mo’ / Photo by Meghan Aileen Photography

Superior living conditions are one reason bluesman Keb’ Mo’ moved his family here from L.A., though the area was once home to his wife, who worked for Southwestern Books. The internationally famed musician can work from anywhere but digs the vibe and comparatively open space here, despite being something of a musical minority in country’s capital. He’s tried his hand at Nashville co-writing, but says, laughing, “I don’t have trucks in my songs.”

Shortly after moving here, he visited the Nashville Jazz Workshop for a guest spot with his childhood mentor, local native and drummer Rip Patton. “When I was about 12 years old and got my first guitar, Rip lived next door to me [in L.A.]. He was a real inspirational guy to have around.” Mo’ was also inspired years later to find out Patton had been a Freedom Rider. “I didn’t know until way after moving to Nashville the whole thing about the Freedom Riders.”

“I would love to see Nashville put more effort into highlighting other musical genres here,” he offers, acknowledging the city’s jazz scene and other camps. Wittily, he suggests that these share some DNA with country. “They all have the same notes,” quips Mo’. “They just put ’em together in a different order.”

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