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Posted on May 14th, 2013 (6:35 pm) by Kim Bongiovanni

The group is well known in many folk, bluegrass, and world music circles. Members of Matuto have a surprising track record – working with musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Bela Fleck, Steve Martin, Yo Yo Ma, and Pete Seeger. Not only does the group’s collaborative efforts demonstrate their talent, but they as a whole have won a surprising number of awards – in fact, they’re actually the American Musical Ambassadors for the U.S. state department. High honors indeed!

Their second album, The Devil and The Diamond, is upbeat and strange, and there is without a doubt nothing like it out there. There is clean acoustic guitar paired with some stellar accordion riffs thrown in with a little slap bass and presto – Brazilian bluegrass! There’s absolutely no distortion, each song on the album is wonderfully clean and crisp, a sort of amplified bluegrass – or rather, a strange cocktail that one might call Brazilian new-grass.

Bluegrass itself is a hugely improvisational genre, a group will often go up on stage and without fall turn what would in studio be a two minute song into a ten minute epic. Your standard bluegrass group consists of an upright bass, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and one or two guitars. Sometimes, as is the case with Matuto, you have drums and perhaps an electric guitar if the group is feeling adventurous. Yet Matuto combines bluegrass with the music of northeastern Brazil – specifically forró – so it’s to be expected that they’d include accordion, played by one of the best forró accordionists, Rob Curto.

The vocals on The Devil and The Diamond pair surprisingly well with the folksy feel of the music. They sound very blues inspired, and often times the accordion playing appears to mirror the ups and downs of the vocalist’s performance. All in all, you’ve got your fiddle solos, your accordion solos, your bass solos – I mean really, you’re set. Totally set. Bring in some classic bluegrass devil imagery and some songs about love and heartache, coupled with a bunch of hugely impressive Brazilian melodies and you’ve got the recipe for a truly sensational album by an even more sensational group.

Track List:
1. Toca O Sino (Ring the Bell)
2. Diamond
3. Way I Love You
4. Sun Song
5. Chicken Teeth
6. Devil's Hand
7. Horse Eat Corn
8. Drag Me Down
9. Demon Chaster
10. Tears
11. Thousand To Three
12. Matuto Chant

Matuto - The Devil & The Diamond
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

65 / 100
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