Award-winning artist wows crowd at fest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

The rumors had abounded for weeks. Though nothing was ever officially stated in the press, the buzz was on: Grammy Award-winning blues musician and actor Kevin Moore, better known as Keb' Mo,' would appear at the Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest in Greenville.

The acclaimed blues man with the &#8220big wide grin” did not disappoint music lovers Saturday afternoon.

&#8220Do y'all want to hear some Keb'Mo'?” music promoter Ansel Strickland asked the crowd with a grin.

The response was clearly a &#8220yes.”

Mo', and his co-stars in the film &#8220Honeydripper,” Greenville's Brian Williams and Garry Clark Jr., had a quick rehearsal behind the festival stage before coming out to applause and whoops of pleasure.

Mo' and Clark performed several songs on acoustic guitar that embodied the spirit of blues great, Robert Johnson,  one of the performer's strongest influences ( Mo' played Johnson in a docudrama, &#8220Can't You Hear the Wind Howl”).

The artist, who took home a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for &#8220Keep It Simple,” gave a  performance on stage last weekend in Greenville that was just that: simple and straightforward.

There were no pyrotechnics, no bells and whistles. Just guitars and voices filled with soulful, bluesy sounds, married with fellow bluesman Topper Price's harmonica skills on a couple of numbers. The tall, lanky blues man's music blends elements of pop, folk rock and jazz, with the sounds of the Delta blues he listened to as a child, played on his southern-born parents' record player.

Mo's final song for the set, &#8220That Isn't Love,” was a haunting ballad that lingered in the minds of many present. &#8220Oh, my, that last song they did. It was so beautiful, the harmonies of the guitars and voices together. Sent chills down my spine,” Carol Connally-Walters of Greenville said.

Priscilla Davis of Greenville concurred.

&#8220What an absolute treat for us here in Greenville.”

Keb'Mo' and his fellow artists received a standing ovation from a very receptive Blues Fest audience.

The musician and actor's most recent big screen appearance was as Slade's guitarist in &#8220All the King's Men.” He has also appeared in several episodes of &#8220Touched by an Angel” as well as the shows &#8220American Dreams” and &#8220Promised Land.”