Nation Beat

Growing Stone

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At first thought, American and Brazilian roots music don't seem like natural companions. But Brazilian forro has more than a passing resemblance to American country, as well as Cajun and Zydeco (indeed, "Forro for Salu" could almost be a two-step). Listen more, and the natural melding takes on a lovely glow. This is the Brazil of the samba, but something rawer, more countrified, and written and performed by an American drummer who's spent plenty of time in Brazil, and a Brazilian singer, with a wide -- and very talented -- cast of musicians, including excellent guitarist Mark Marshall. This is the band's third outing, and the fusion of styles sounds better than ever. Even a track as relatively basic as "City Blues" takes on a more tropical hue. Throw some horns into the mix and it feels like music from somewhere south of Memphis. Band founder Scott Kettner is a powerful and inventive drummer who propels all the music here (and composes much of it). The result is something that can seem surprising at first, but which quickly wins over any open-minded listener.

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