“Too happy for blues, too bluesy for jazz, too funky for folk, and too city for country”—so you have described your genre-busting music, which has landed you four Grammys, eleven Blues Foundation Awards, six BMI Awards, and a raft of movie and television appearances, including even Sesame Street. Your fourteen albums include TajMo—a collaboration with Taj Mahal, the musician who inspired your career when he once played your Compton high school. You have also performed with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Amy Grant, Jackson Browne, and Rita Coolidge, and your songs have been covered by artists such as Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker, and B.B. King, from whom you have inherited the title “keeper of the flame.” As such, Gibson and Martin Guitars both now produce models in your name. Believing in the power of music to change lives, you have mentored students at The Johnson School for Excellence in Chicago and founded the Playing for Change Foundation, which provides free music lessons to children in nine countries. Perhaps most indelible has been this iconic rendition of America the Beautiful, which has graced the finale of West Wing, the White House itself, and now even little, old Williamstown. Through it all you have become a genre unto yourself—known with deep reverence and affection as Keb’ Mo’.
I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Music, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 2, 2019