Keb’ Mo’ and Bonnie Raitt slated to jam today in Deer Valley

By By Danny Letz

By Danny Letz

In a society based on the search for prospective superlatives-the best and worst of our respective times-it’s hard to stomach prophecies regarding persons slated to assume the throne of the former “best” or “worst” of an era.

It’s tough to replace Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, The Beatles, Miles Davis or any of the “bests” of former generations.

In the search for a replacement for Robert Johnson (the Mississippi blues guitarist whose brief career shaped the face of ALL American music for the last 80-plus years), many hailed the arrival of Keb’ Mo’ as the revival of Johnson’s long lost spirit.

Don’t be afraid to believe the speculation.

Keb’ Mo’ (born Kevin Moore), the native son of folk and blues guitar, is coming to Utah tonight, headlining alongside Bonnie Raitt. The two will be performing at 6 p.m. at the Deer Valley Eccles Center for Performing Arts.

Raitt, an acclaimed master of the amalgamation of blues, heart and folk sensibilities, has a reputation that precedes her. The recipient of nine Grammy awards and a career that dates back to the early ’70s, Raitt is acclaimed both by critics and fans alike for her smooth and understated music that, although easy to listen to, carries a staggering dose of feeling.

To recognize Raitt only for her singles, including the radio-friendly “Runaways,” “Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” is to miss the vast body and richness of Raitt’s catalog of work.

Raitt’s music is the acoustical equivalent of an American storybook, chronicling the ups and downs of an individually unique American experience while assuring the listener that, though the ups may not outnumber the downs, the experience is part of the steady progression of American life.

For Keb’ Mo’, the sounds of the American songbook are never distant from his blues-centric, folk-infused music. Like his musical predecessors, including the famed Johnson, Keb’ Mo’s music imparts a bluesman’s world of hurt to the listener while simultaneously soothing his audience into a place of calm via Mo’s earthy, deep-textured voice.

Keb’ Mo’s music is often at its best when it is only Mo’ himself at the reins. Typically playing with only a guitar and one acoustic bass performer for accompaniment, Mo’ replaces the full- bodied sound of two guitars with his one.

Together, he and Raitt are lined up to provide an evening of soul-searching through the vast enclaves of American music tonight.

And though the skeptics may continue to doubt Mo’ and Raitt’s status among the ranks of music’s elite superlatives, the performances promise to make even the most diehard naysayers rethink their opinions.