By People Staff
October 16, 2000 12:00 PM

Keb’ Mo’ (550/Okeh/Epic)

Album of the week

The singer and songwriter formerly known as Kevin Moore has nabbed two Grammys in the contemporary blues category. But Keb’ Mo’, as he now calls himself, defies easy labeling. Like fellow journeyman blues-based artist Robert Cray or even Bonnie Raitt (whose relaxed, sexy style informs The Door’s title track), Keb’ Mo’ uses the blues as a foundation for songs that mix in plenty of rock, pop, soul and even country. The stories the Compton, Calif.-born Keb’ Mo’ tells on this heartfelt and worthwhile album address themes of guilt and salvation. With his deep, steady voice and sure-fingered guitar playing, the musician is sufficiently faithful to tradition to cover the late bluesman Elmore James’s “It Hurts Me Too” yet contemporary enough to add bracing electronic touches to the James classic. Keb’ Mo’ employs a crisp studio sound that recalls Eric Clapton’s more recent efforts—which is not that surprising, since The Door was produced by Russ Titelman, who counts Clapton among his many credits. Filled with strongly crafted songs, most of which were written or cowritten by Keb’ Mo’ (with such stalwart composers as Melissa Manchester, Bobby McFerrin and Leon Ware), The Door resonates with joy and heartache.

Bottom Line: Lights a fire