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Deja Blues: Keb' Mo' is Coming Back...and We Didn't Even Have to Send Him a Gift Basket 

Mo' Betta Blues. There are few artists who just keep coming back to Central Oregon, eventually emerging as local favorites, even if the musician already

click to enlarge Mo' Betta Blues.
  • Mo' Betta Blues.
Mo' Betta Blues. There are few artists who just keep coming back to Central Oregon, eventually emerging as local favorites, even if the musician already has all the national and international fame and respect of which he or she could dream. While it's understandable that big-name acts with big reputations and discographies would pull the 40-foot tour bus off of I-5 long enough to pack 5,000 sun burned, grass-stained fans into the Les Schwab Amphitheater, well-recognized names are also returning to Bend to pack the Tower, or even the Sisters High School auditorium, as in the case of blues man Keb' Mo'.

Often thought of as the one of the banner-carriers of contemporary blues as well as the only modern bluesman that most casual music fans can recognize by name, Keb' Mo' is brining his act to Sisters as part of the Sisters Starry Nights Benefit Concert Series. That's an impressive booking for the series, which raises cash for the Sisters School Foundation, but what's more interesting is that this is Keb Mo's (real name: Kevin Moore) second show in Deschutes County in the past seven months; he packed the Tower back in October, as many remember. And before that, he popped up on the aforementioned LSA stage opening for fellow blues shredder Bonnie Raitt in September of 2006, but even that wasn't his first stop off in the region in recent memory.

If only all world class musicians could follow Mr. Mo's track record of making regular stops in our neck of the woods, our concert calendar would rival any of the big West Coast markets. Perhaps we (as a community of music junkies) should start sending gift baskets to performers the week after they play Central Oregon and attach loving remarks like:

Dear Mr. Willie Nelson,

We had a great time at your show last week here in the lovely and loving town of Bend, Oregon. You might remember me, I was the guy in the front row with braids and a headband - just like you! Please accept this assortment of smoked meats and handmade handicrafts as a token of my appreciation and that of my town.

This might sound a little bonkers at first, but consider this: When the agents are booking Willie's next tour and have a night to fill between shows in San Francisco and Portland, do you think they're going to choose Eugene, or the town that sent all the gift baskets? Um, the gift baskets town. Totally. Those dirty hippies over in Eugene (far dirtier than our hippies) probably didn't even think to send a thankful text message.

Keb' Mo's hasn't been the recipient of mountains of gift baskets (at least not to our knowledge) he's just a damn fine musician with a reputation for being a remarkably nice guy who doesn't mind hanging out in the mountains. The Southern California native already had a few decades worth of touring as a member of a number of high-profile bands before he finally released his self-titled solo debut in 1994, which quickly launched him to fame and won him an armful of Grammys. Keb' Mo's records, including his most recent release, Suitcase, and live performances have led critics to often site him as one of the most influential and innovative blues songwriters and players of the past two decades.

In recent years, he has begun tackling social and political issues. In 2004, as a response to the Iraq War, he recorded Peace...Back by Popular Demand, an album of 10 covers of classic peace songs, including renditions of Buffalo Springfield's "For What it's Worth" and the Bob Dylan classic, "Times They are a Changing."

Even with that laundry list of accomplishments in mind, we still get to enjoy the talents of this socially conscious bluesman on what's starting to become a regular basis.

Now, just think how often we might get him if he gets some of our soon-to-be famous gift baskets. Jeez, at this rate, don't be surprised to see him moving in next door.

Keb' Mo'
7pm Saturday, May 10. Sisters High School, 1700 W. McKinney Butte Rd., 549-8521, ext. 4007 for tickets. $50. 


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