Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’ to perform at Palladium

Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’ to perform at Palladium

Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’ to perform at Palladium


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Photo by JAY BLAKESBERG/CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Ruth Eckerd Hall On the Road presents Taj Mahal, left, and Keb’ Mo’ Sept. 26 at the Palladium in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG – As part of the Ruth Eckerd Hall On the Road series, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ will perform Tuesday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m., at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ are touring in support of “TajMo,” their first album as a duo. The tour will showcase these two blues legends as they share the stage.

“TajMo” is a historic collaboration between two generations of blues giants, converging their singular talents for the first time ever on an album of original songs and covers, featuring cameos from Bonnie Raitt, Joe Walsh, Sheila E. and Lizz Wright. The album was self-produced by the duo and was recorded by Zach Allen, John Caldwell and Casey Wasner at Nashville’s Stu Stu Studio. The collaboration merges their distinctive voices, personalities and guitar styles to create vibrant, immediate music that’s firmly rooted in tradition yet ruled by a playful sense of adventure.

The album features guest appearances by Sheila E., Joe Walsh, Lizz Wright and Bonnie Raitt, who lends her voice to a distinctive cover of John Mayer’s anthemic “Waiting on the World to Change.”

Taj Mahal has been recording and performing his unmistakable blend of blues and world music for over 50 years, winning multiple Grammys and collaborating with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and more along the way.

Taj Mahal first made his mark in the late 1960s with a series of visionary country-blues albums, and in the decades since has continued to pursue his free-spirited muse with a long series of eclectic recording projects touching upon a wide array of genres and cultures.

Keb’ Mo’, who has often cited Taj as one of his musical heroes, is a three-time Grammy-winner who has collaborated with everyone from Raitt to Jackson Browne and Buddy Guy.

Since arriving on the scene in 1990s, Keb’ Mo’ has built a powerful body of work that’s showcased his mastery of multiple blues as well as his sense of musical adventure, which has led him into all manner of projects.

“We wanted to do a real good record together, but we didn’t want to do the record that everyone expected us to do,” blues legend Taj Mahal said in a press release from Concord Music Group. “There wasn’t a bunch of cryin’ and ringin’ hands, we just got together and it came together pretty naturally. I think it’s a pretty upbeat, celebratory record, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The iconoclastic pair’s combustible creative chemistry powers such unforgettable new originals as “Don’t Leave Me Here,” “All Around The World,” “That’s Who I Am” and the anthemic “Soul.” “TajMo” also features guest appearances by Sheila E., Lizz Wright and Bonnie Raitt, who lends her voice to a memorable cover of John Mayer’s “Waiting On The World To Change.” In addition, Joe Walsh adds his trademark guitar work to “Shake Me In Your Arms” and an inspired reading of The Who’s classic “Squeeze Box.”

“I’m really proud of this record,” said Keb’. “I really owe Taj for hanging in there with me. I feel like this is kind of a legacy project, and we’re both pulling from something way back in time. Taj is a part of the same chain that I’ve always been pulling on. He’s like a guide through all that stuff, back through the Deep South and the church and the Caribbean and all the way back to Africa. He has some real musical knowledge that goes back to the origins.”

Although “TajMo” marks their first studio collaboration, the two artists have known each other for decades. Taj has been a longstanding touchstone for Keb’ ever since he saw him perform at a high-school student assembly, and Taj even played a role in Keb’ winning his first record deal. The two have occasionally shared stages over the years, but the new album was their first opportunity to create new music together.

“The making of this record spanned two and a half years, working in my home studio whenever we could get together between tours,” said Keb’. “And over that two and a half years, we got to know each other really well. Making this record was a really, really big deal for me. Taj is a stellar human being, just a brilliant man, and I learned a lot working with him. It’s an honor to have that kind of person in your life, and there was a lot of trust that developed between us.”

“It was a lot of fun,” added Taj. “We’d been thinking about collaborating for a little while, but once we actually got in there, I was really impressed. Keb’s really good at keeping the ball up in the air. He’s a hell of a guitar player, and I’m just amazed at some of the stuff that he put out there.”

With “TajMo” in the can and their first highly anticipated collective tour underway, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ are excited about the prospect of getting their new music out into the world.

“It’s gonna be big fun,” Taj said. “I’m planning on being excited every night and every note. Some people think that the blues is about being down all the time, but that’s not what it is. It’s therapeutic, so you can get up off that down. You could have 100 consecutive lifetimes, and still only crack the surface of all the music that’s on this planet. It’s phenomenal, and it’s all connected to the human experience, which is different for all of us but the same for everyone.”

Tickets start at $50. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.r­uthec­kerdh­all.c­om.

For venue information, visit www.m­ypall­adium­.org.

For a complete list of tour dates, visit www.T­ajMo.­com.
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