The multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Keb' Mo', born as Kevin Roosevelt Moore, although having just reached retirement age, has just released another blues album, his thirteenth album. What was conceived as a solo album surprisingly turned out to be an album with contributions from a number of prominent colleagues, including colleagues and friends with whom Keb' Mo' was not yet active in the recording studio. Robert Randolph, Taj Mahal, with whom he released the previous album TajMo, the singers Jaci Valasquez, and Mrs. Robbie Brooks Moore, together with Keb' Mo' on Oklahoma, make for a very successful blues session, which turns Oklahoma into an entertaining excursion into the way Keb' Mo' cultivates to create blues with the inclusion of folk, rock, jazz, pop and country. There are classical blues instruments like the fiddle heard on "Oklahoma" and the lap steel guitar, the mandolin on "Don't Throw It Away" and the guitar version Dobro, which gives you a delta blues feeling on "Ridin' On A Train".
Of course Oklahoma is about love, especially love, which can easily be ignited at the Bar, but which is also a remedy for all kinds of trouble. In addition, the songs also deal with such current topics as environmental pollution, immigration and feminism. All this is not presented in a beastly serious way, but rather with a certain wink of the eye.
One of the strongest musical impressions of Oklahoma is the title song, which is dedicated to the peculiarities of this state with a historically complex past and its inhabitants. Robert Randolph provides the authentic touch of this song with his lap steel guitar. The rather simply conceived opening song "I Remember You" is dedicated to the eternal blues theme of flirting at the bar. Rosanne Cash takes a stand for feminism with her unique voice on "Put A Woman In Charge". Keb' Mo' touchingly reports about an immigrant fate on "This Is My Home" under puristic, simple finger-picking guitar accompaniment, vocally impressively supported by Jaci Velasquez. Taj Mahal on bass and also acting vocally on "Don't Throw It Away" supports the call not to let our planet perish in mountains of rubbish.
Keb' Mo' deals on "The Way I" under full emotional use in a touching way with the delicate topic "Depression". "Ridin' On A Train" comes closest to rock on Oklahoma and Keb' Mo' shines with his virtuoso guitar work. "I Should've" is based on a story about romantic slips and gives Keb' Mo' the opportunity to present his harmonica skills. The final song "Beautiful Music" unites Keb' Mo' with his wife Robbie Brook Moore in a heartwarming ode to love.
With Oklahoma, Keb' Mo' has succeeded in producing a carefully produced and best sounding blues album, which deserves the attention of all his fans not least because of its partly critical lyrics, and which can also inspire all those for the blues who have not been infested by the blues bacillus so far.