Throughout the history of music, there are many important figures.
But when it comes to American music, perhaps the most important figure is the author of a blues song. From Robert Johnson to the electrified Chuck Berry, it’s blues players and songwriters that have changed what Western music is and can be.
Today, perhaps the most prominent blues man is Keb’ Mo’.
The five-time Grammy Award-winner has made a name for himself and then some, working with important artists like Taj Mahal and Kristin Chenoweth, to name just a few.
And one of the most important roles for a blues man is to put his talents onto songs by others. So, that is why we wanted to in dive here to five songs you didn’t know the great Keb’ Mo’ covered. Let’s go!
1. “Walking Blues” by Robert Johnson
In this recording, Keb’ Mo’ is accompanied by artists all around the world as he sings the famed Robert Johnson song, “Walking Blues.” Mo’ offers his deep, rich voice to the tune and then shares the mic with a handful of players from corners of the globe. Check it out below.
2. “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James
Here Mo’ is joined by singer Alicia Michilli for a rendition of Etta James’ emotive tune. While Michilli sings expertly, Mo’ offers his guitar playing, and his lead skills to the track, which just pulls at your heart. Check out the song below from the dynamic duo.
3. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams
In this offering, Mo’ is joined by the legendary songwriter and performer James Taylor. Together, the two perform a rendition of the famed Hank Williams tune, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” With Mo’s reverberating voice and Taylor’s guitar touch, the duet is a hit. Check it out below. (Fans of the song can read more about the tune here.)
4. “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
Taking the stage live, Mo’ performed this classic by the late Johnny Cash, offering his slide guitar. The famous song, which includes the lyric I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, is altered by Mo’ here, with a laugh from the audience, and then his harmonica takes over. Check it out below.
5. “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters
Takes one to know one. Here, Mo’ covers a song by the great blues man Muddy Waters. Mo’ goes above and beyond in this rendition, offering his big voice and guitar skills to the all-time classic. Check out his energetic rendition below, complete with organ and full band and audience appreciation.
Photo by Jeremy Cowart / Missing Piece Group