Keb' Mo' says he'll return to his blues roots for follow up to silky Grammy-nominated R&B project

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Fresh off a Grammy nomination for his silky-smooth R&B project The Reflection, Keb’ Mo’ says he’ll likely return to his blues roots for his next album — though he no regrets about dabbling in new sounds.

“Overall, I’m glad I did it,” Keb’ Mo’ told Billboard.com, calling The Reflection “the furthest out I’ve ever gone with my music. … I wanted to do a work that was honest but kind of uncharacteristic for me. I wanted to go out and find some things and stretch out. I found out a lot of things about me — and my audience. I found out how open-minded they are, and willing to go along with me on a journey.”

That Keb’ Mo’ is contemplating such a quick return to the studio is news itself, considering the five-year gap between his last two projects: “I want to get right on it,” he said. “I don’t want to wait another four, five years. I waited a little too long this time. I don’t want to do that again. I want to come right on out with something really cool.”

Meanwhile, his ongoing tour behind The Reflection continues. Keb’ Mo’ has also recorded guest spots on upcoming projects with Spyro Gyro and Nashville legend Jerry Douglas, and will appear on the 50th episode of Daryl Hall’s Web TV sensation “Live From Daryl’s House.” The appearance, set to debut on Jan. 15, includes five cuts from Keb’ Mo’ new album plus duets on “Cab Driver” and “Everything Your Heart Desires” from Hall’s catalog as a solo artist and one half of Hall and Oates.

Whatever the feel of his next project, Keb’ Mo’ says he’ll remain inextricably linked to blues music — something confirmed when he earned a Grammy nomination for The Reflection … in the “best blues album” category. “It’s OK to do something else, but I’m still gonna be the blues,” he said, “and I’m comfortable with that. Even when Herbie Hancock did ‘Rockit’ and got real funky, it was still jazz. B.B. King has done different things, but B.B. King is the blues. I can deal with that.”

Here’s a look back at our review of ‘The Reflection.’ Click through the title for more …

KEB’ MO’ – THE REFLECTION (2011): Keb Mo isn’t that kid playing the old blues on the old steel guitar anymore. Instead he often comes off on this album like a pillowy-smooth 1970s-era singer-songwriter — though guys like that, of course, never sounded this honey-smoked and warm. Leaving aside Keb Mo’s earliest work, this shouldn’t come a deep surprise. He has been following a lengthening career trail away from blues traditionalism all the way over into this soft-hearted, rootsy amalgam for some time. Keb Mo’s first album on Yolabelle International is simply the fullest flowering of what appears to be a long-held love-affair with old-school AM radio.

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