Keb’ Mo’ Forges His Future With His Home in His Heart on New LP

There is a saying: You can never go home again. The idea is that once you leave the house, there is no real way to go back because so much time has passed, and so much has changed. You are not the same person you were when you left. But 70-year-old blues artist Kip Moe is living proof that sayings, like rules, must be broken. Born in Los Angeles, Moe moved later in his life to Nashville, where he enjoyed a stay with his now wife for about twelve years. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed for the artist, both internally and externally. He reconsidered the most important, right down to the idea of ​​what a home is or could be. These changes and the perspectives they brought Mo’ helped create his last LP, It’s good to beslated for release on Friday (January 21).

“I’ve had these big awakenings about my life,” Mo tells the American songwriter. “What am I doing here? Why am I running on the road so much? What’s the point – I’ve been working on my career too much and not working with my family enough. It has changed things in a wonderful way for me, and changed my priorities.”

While Mo mourns the deaths of 800,000 Americans at the hands of the virus, it will be impossible to ignore the presence of new discoveries he has made amidst this tragedy. At 70, Mo says his mind is more open, learned new skills (including the art of file sharing) and made new relationships with friends and musicians. But perhaps the biggest change is Mo’s purchase of his childhood home in Compton, California after his mother’s death, a measure he says he would not have been able to do had he not moved to Nashville for the first time.

Mo says, “When I had the opportunity to buy the house I grew up in from my mother’s estate, I bought the house. My wife and I renovated it. Probably not often. [fancy] Real estate in the world, but it just felt right to be there.”

Before Nashville, Mo and his wife lived on the West Side of Los Angeles. Then they sold that place to move to Music City. The move afforded them the opportunity to later purchase Compton’s home, which Mo has since used to record sections from his latest LP. He has also composed and recorded divisions in Nashville. He says his studio in Nashville is four times the size of his studio in Compton. But that is the whole point, to maintain this dichotomous lifestyle. Not to mention, Compton has a rich and rich history of music (hello, Dr. Dre).

“You can’t be in this house,” Mo says with a laugh, “and I feel like, man, I’m really Palin.” But it brings you back to humility and how hard my mother worked to raise us.”

His mother was a hairdresser who raised four children in the 800-square-foot home. One bathroom and two small bedrooms. Mohamed says he remembers spending a lot of time outside because there was often not a lot of room inside. As such, he knew the entire neighborhood and had a dozen or two friends in his block. They would ride bicycles, play steel drums, build model cars, and hang out with their dogs. Because of these memories, he didn’t want to lose his childhood home to a stranger, for some kind of non-visual improvement. Perhaps the house will one day become the Cape Moe Museum?

“I do not wish!” He says with another laugh. “I just want my family to feel safe to go there. I want people to know that the house will always be available as a symbol of grounding, where we come from.”

The neighborhood around the house had “calmed down” a bit since Mo lived there decades ago. He says there was a time when he remembered inviting his contemporaries to music but they were too afraid to visit them. He asked, “Why, I live there.” In fact, his family has been there since 1962. Now, he’s got it back and is working to build something in the community: a humble beacon for hard work, achievement, and family. Mo’ is proud of this house. He helped set his new record, which he is also very proud of. The album, launched during lockdown, imparts a tangible sense of positivity, which is one of the artist’s superpowers.

“I grew up in the Martin Luther King era of nonviolence and respect for people,” Mo says. “The content of the character. Therefore, I always like to treat a subject, especially a difficult one, with tenderness.”

Mo remembers writing the song “Marvelous to Me,” which appeared on the new LP. It was in the midst of the murder of George Floyd and the world was outraged. People were on the streets all over the world. Mo knew the situation was “bad” but tried to imagine its impact, if any, 10 to 20 years down the road. He imagined a cloudy day without sunlight, cold and gray. He imagined he was walking with problems on his mind. Then imagine laughing at those, explaining his vision and seeing that the future – whatever it may be – looked great.

“It’s basically a way of saying I see better days ahead,” Mo says. “But how deep does that rabbit hole want to go? It could mean the extermination of the human race. Perhaps this is still good news for planet Earth.”

The new album is delightful, and features a massive roster of guest artists as well. From Ketch Secor to Kingfish Ingram to Darius Rucker (see above) and Kristen Chenoweth, Mo’s new friend, “”but someone he cherishes,” he says. She sings is the original Keb ‘Mo song that is 40 years old and written in the 1970s. It has never been recorded or released before. Relationships represent a life Mo ‘lived authentically and honestly, even if his career took off only later in his life. The age is 40 when he found his way in. Thirty years later, he is set to release his eighteenth record and go on a world tour for four months.

“I tried every trick in the book,” Mo says. “I tried to do all those things, like go to L.A., go to parties, spend time. I would do all those things and then I threw that. I thought, Why am I in this? Because I love music. So, I threw my life, my bones, and my flesh on “Mercy of the Court,” and I said, “Do with me as you will!” and that is when everything changed almost immediately.”

Photo by Jeremy Cowart/The Missing Pieces Collection

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