19-04-17 ARTS Keb' Mo' CMYK.jpg

Keb’ Mo’ plays at the Sun Valley Pavilion in 2009.

Last month, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts announced its full summer concert series lineup, including Ziggy Marley, Michael Franti, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Jackson Browne.

The Center bolstered this roster during its Fools Day celebration, during which it announced a number of performing arts engagements for the remainder of 2019, including Vance Gilbert, Che Apalache and self-styled “certified lunatic” Tomáš Kubínek.

Perhaps the biggest name on this new list, however, is four-time Grammy-winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’, who will return to the valley in October for the first time in 10 years.

“We are simply overjoyed to be bringing Keb’ Mo’ back to the valley,” said Kristine Bretall, The Center’s director for performing arts.

Tickets for Keb’ Mo’s concert became available to members of The Center last week, and went on sale to nonmembers April 16. Even though the concert is another six months away, The Center anticipates a sell-out crowd, so interested parties should consider purchasing sooner rather than later.

“These tickets are going to fly off the shelves, and members of The Center will get the first chance to purchase them,” Bretall said last week.

The concert will be held at the Argyros, which will allow the celebrated blues icon to fully explore a state-of-the-art sound system, but will also place serious limitations on the size of the audience. The Argyros can seat—at a maximum—a little more than 400 people.

Keb’ Mo’s reputation in the music industry precedes him wherever he goes. His 14 studio albums have invariably garnered critical accolades since his debut in 1994.

Audiences and critics alike continually praise his musical ingenuity, but perhaps the strongest endorsements come from his peers. Keb’ Mo’ has shared stages with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and Jackson Browne, and his songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Tom Jones, Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer, the Dixie Chicks and more.

Sun Valley has been fortunate enough to host this singular artist a few times in the past, but it has been some time. In June 2009, he headlined a concert at the Sun Valley Pavilion to a crowd of several hundred.

The Center also enlisted his talents for a concert a few years before that. As Bretall said, “It’s been 13 years since he last took the stage [with The Center], and that was with Bonnie Raitt, playing to a sold-out crowd at River Run.”

This time around, Mo’ will be joined by relative newcomer Jontavious Willis, whose debut album was released in 2016. His sophomore album, “Spectacular Class,” produced by Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’, was released less than two weeks ago, on April 5.

Willis will open the show for Keb’ Mo’ at the Argyros on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at a wide range of prices, for members from $50 to $95 and for nonmembers from $60 to $105.

Visit sunvalleycenter.org, call 208-726-9491, or stop by The Center’s headquarters at 191 Fifth St. E. in Ketchum for more information.

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