An Interview with Nashville Bluesman Keb' Mo' on This Week's Biscuits & Jam
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode: September 21, 2021
Kevin Moore released his first album, Rainmaker, in 1980 and didn't follow it up for nearly 15 years until he re-emerged under the moniker Keb' Mo' in 1994, influenced by legendary bluesmen like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Known for his incomparable talents on the steel guitar, he's since collaborated with a who's who list of music legends like Taj Mahal, Rosanne Cash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and even film director Martin Scorsese.
Keb's songs like this one–"Better Man"–speak to the positive change he seeks in himself and the world around him. He may be singing the blues, but something about his music just makes you happy. Today, Keb' chats with Sid about what makes the perfect biscuit, the importance of downtown Nashville being home to the National Museum of African-American Music, and much more.
On His Family's Southern Roots
"My mother was from Hookes, Texas, which is a town outside of Texarkana. And my father is from a town called Heflin, Louisiana, which is outside of Mendon, which is outside of Shreveport."
On Growing Up with Southern Food
"I grew up with a whole lot of Southern food. And there was one Italian dish that we had, spaghetti and meatballs… But in the morning for breakfast was mostly grits. Grits and eggs and bacon. A lot of restaurants serve grits, but the grits I grew up on were not soupy grits like you go to some places they put grits in a little bowl. The grits I had they sat on your plate."
On Thanksgiving Growing Up
"We would have two Thanksgivings. So the big meal, Thanksgiving meal, the turkey would be at the center of it, of course. And then the dressing would be a cornbread dressing with sausage, onions, and a number of things in there. And the dressing was the star. Some of it got stuffed in the turkey, but most of it was in a big pan and the dressing was outstanding. They make cornbread, mashed the cornbread up, put it all together, rebaked it in the oven and they made the gravy out of the stuffing. The giblets would go in the dressing. So we'd have Thanksgiving on the Thursday. And then my Aunt Laura would do her Thanksgiving on Friday...The yams, the cornbread dressing, turkey (preferably dark meat for me), I love the dark meat, and the gravy. Of course, sweet potato pie. You know, sweet potato pie is something I'm finding to be a rare art. Sometimes you can't find a good sweet potato pie in Nashville."
On the National Museum of African-American Music
"I think it's a great place where we can really focus on African-American music as a whole. I think it's in the right town. It's the right thing. It shouldn't be anywhere—Nashville's the perfect right place for it. That section in this town really needs that to break up the monotony of downtown Nashville and give Nashville another look in its most popular parts. I never really felt like I wanted to go down there for anything... I didn't want to go listen to country music in bars. I didn't want to get drunk... And I think it gives a lot of reason for us African-American folks to go down there and enjoy Broadway...It's really beautiful. It's so significant that it's there. Nashville really represents American music in a big way."
This interview has been condensed.
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