STRAIGHT TALK

MO' BETTER Fifty-two-year-old blues artist Keb' Mo' (born Kevin Moore) just released Keep It Simple and will be playing at the One World Theatre, in Austin, March 4.

How would you describe your new album?

I'd say it's a labor of love, and it's a set of songs made to heal and massage your soul.

Why the title?

I think it's a great metaphor for life. It's a very simple feeling, when you hear your calling. Life is not complicated or difficult. It's easy.

You're a constant presence on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart. Would you call yourself a bluesman?

No. I'm just a guy who loves to play, who loves and respects the blues. I went and saw B. B. King last night—now he's a bluesman.

What do you think is so compelling about the blues?

God, if I could answer that! I think it's realness. That's what I believe.

How often do you come through Texas?

Every chance I get. I love Texas.

Any Texas memories that you'd like to share?

Back in 1992 I did a play called Spunk at the Dallas Theater Center. I played the part of a guitar man. And after the show, this woman came up to me and said, "You're good. Do you have a tape to sell, or do you have something that we can buy?" She was really adamant about it. And I said, "Well . . . no." But I had been working on a recording of some songs, and I had brought a tape with me. So I found a sound person who had a tape deck, and I played the recording for her. After that, I went to the studio and picked out eight of those songs, and I made a recording called Kevin Moore a.k.a. Keb' Mo'. It's only available on cassette tape. I made a hundred tapes, and I sold them, and that was the start of my new recording career.

That's a great story.

That tape was the basis of my first record. All those songs, except for one, were the songs that I put on my first CD, Keb' Mo'. So it's true; my recording debut was right there in Texas. I had been recording songs before that, because that's what I do, but that woman really inspired me. She lit a real Texas fire under me. (See Austin: Music/Dance .)

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