Keb Mo's self-titled 1994 debut was based in a spare Delta blues style indebted to Robert Johnson. But that antediluvian sound has dissipated over the years, replaced with more commercial R&B and pop considerations. The gritty charm of his first couple albums has receded as well, leaving behind a slick husk that lacks vitality across the course of an album. The veneer often makes his music veer into adult contemporary fare, even creating a crime scene there on last year's The Reflection when he snuffed the life out of The Eagles' "One of These Nights" with a soft-soul take.
Still, there can be no denying Keb Mo's strong vocals. And during those (increasingly rare) moments when he lets loose on guitar, he'll regale you with impassioned blues-funk playing. The result is a mixed bag of impressive talent shackled to dispiriting treacle buffed within an inch of its life. Tonight, Keb Mo plays solo, so perhaps there's a chance for a return of that early intimacy. —Chris Parker