Keb’ Mo’ BLUESAmericana (Kind of Blue) 3 out of 5 stars
Those who were disappointed in the slick, blues-free approach that made Keb’ Mo’s previous release so bland will be pleased to know this follow-up three years later is a substantial improvement. Despite the singer/guitarist’s early affiliation with Robert Johnson, his albums have been more informed by an easy on the ears pop/blues/soul mix that hewed too close to snoozy to have much bite. But putting “blues” in caps for this release’s title is an indication of how he has retreated to the music that first put him on the map in 1994. While no one will mistake this for Muddy Waters or even Mo’s old mentor Taj Mahal, it’s encouraging that the album’s only non-original is from deep bluesman (and Waters sideman) Jimmy Rogers as opposed to a less than convincing Eagles cover from 2008’s fuzzy The Reflection.