Imagine the sound of a Brazilian Carnival in the Appalachian Mountains. A sound where dynamic percussion instruments rumble beneath blues-drenched vocals, telecaster twangs, accordion acrobatics, and folksy fiddle tunes. Veterans of the New York music scene and U.S. festival circuit, Matuto (“bumpkin” in Brazilian slang) moves with two-stepping grace between bluegrass and forró, swamp rock and maracatu.
After bandleader Clay Ross moved from South Carolina to New York to pursue a jazz career, he visited Recife, Brazil, to study the region’s folkloric music. Along the way he rediscovered the straightforward songs of his native South.
The guitarist and singer titled his Ropeadope Records debut Matuto, after a Brazilian slang reference to a man from the backcountry. Described as “weird and wonderful… unorthodox and delightful” by Jazz Times Magazine, the set has Ross and his band performing North American folk songs like “Home Sweet Home” and Blind Willie Johnson’s “John the Revelator” over South American rhythms from the northeastern region of Brazil.
Matuto is also performing Saturday, Sept. 28, 3 pm at CSPS with the Washington High School string students