Keep it Simple is an appropriate title for this album. Keep It Simple is reminiscent of a time where guitars and smooth lyrics ruled the sound of music. Keb Mo’ is a blues artist in every sense of the word, and it’s evident from his thick, syrupy Southern drawl.
But the question must be asked: Where did this South Central L.A. native pick up these Southern attributes? Sure, it is understood that anyone could potentially pick up an album and appropriate a style, but adopting an accent seems a bit strange. But I must admit that this works for Keb Mo’, despite the dubious origins of his accent. Keb Mo’ comes across as a genuine artist working hard to preserve his style of the blues.
Regardless of how many people have never heard of Keb Mo’, he is a veteran to the game with numerous albums under his belt. Keep it Simple is a rich blend of soulful music whose lyrics actually make you feel good. His lyrics are almost utopian in the way he describes the world around him. In the title track “Keep It Simple,” he says, “I just wanna’ go somewhere and use my hands/And keep it simple, real simple.”
In the fast-paced world we live in, his request to “use his hands and keep it simple” seems foreign and strange. He has several other self-motivating songs such as “Let Your Light Shine” and “I’m Amazing” that are so positive they borderline cliché.
The best thing about this album is the music. Whereas the lyrics may be borderline passe, Keb Mo’s music is not. Nothing about this music is trite or ordinary. The blending of his voice with the dragging drawl of the music is an electric combination.
The listener can tell that he has taken the time to craft his music and his voice so that the sound we hear is stirring. It is amazing how simple Keb Mo’ can keep his musical arrangement, yet still end up with a poignant and moving sound. The music is the best testament to his theory of “keeping it simple.”