Keb' Mo' toiled long and hard during five-year break 

His August 14 Simply Blues concert at Oakland’s Dunsmuir Hellman Estate might be cancelled, but rest assured, local blues belter Keb’ Mo’ is still firing on all rejuvenated six cylinders after five long years away.

This week, he releases his first studio set since 2006’s “Suitcase,” “The Reflection,” and this time around it’s on his own Ryko-distributed imprint, Yolabelle.

Minus the Oakland date, his U.S tour will continue on long into the fall, and on Aug. 10 he’ll be performing his hit single “The Whole Enchilada” on “Conan.”

The album features duets with India.arie and Nashville legend Vince Gill, plus cameos from Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, Mindi Abair and David T. Walker.

Why such a long break? Keb’ Mo’ – born Kevin Moore - worked long and hard on this set, for two years straight making sure every last note was in place, he says.

But he did have a distraction or two along the way – he also currently composes the soundtrack music for TNT’s hit series “Memphis Beat,” where he recently guest starred in a walk-on role.

He also performs the show’s gravelly theme song. So it may take the man a while to make it back to the Bay Area again. But his “Reflection” momentum should keep him going, well into next year.

For more: www.kebmo.com.

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Tom Lanham

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