Alvin Youngblood Hart/ Keb' Mo' | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Alvin Youngblood Hart/ Keb' Mo' 

Alvin Youngblood Hart/Keb' Mo'

Anyone intrigued by the trend of young African-American bluesmen returning to the music's acoustic roots will probably want to check out both of these shows, which occur within days of each other at House of Blues. Alvin Youngblood Hart, a dreadlocked urban sophisticate out of Oakland, California, was already an aficionado of traditional blues artists like Robert Johnson before he graduated from high school. Consumed with a desire to visit the stomping grounds of his forebears, he joined the coast guard and got stationed in Mississippi, where he forged a powerful spiritual bond with the land, its people, and its tradition; since then he's been on a mission to keep those ancestral spirits alive. Keb' Mo' (aka Kevin Moore), another Californian, found himself captivated by the muse of tradition in 1990, when he appeared as a Delta blues musician in the play Rabbit Foot. His eponymous 1994 debut on Okeh has since established him as one of the movement's standard-bearers. Whether he and Hart represent the beginnings of a new trend or merely a blip on the cultural radar screen remains to be seen, but either way their music resonates with a power that has already shown it can survive the vicissitudes of fashion. Hart opens for Buckwheat Zydeco Saturday and Sunday, and Keb' Mo' headlines Thursday, February 20. Both shows start at 9 PM. House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583, 312-923-2000, or 312-559-1212. David Whiteis

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Alvin Youngblood photo/ Keb' Mo' photo by James Fraher.

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