Crys Matthews

DC’s Crys Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk into a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies and punctuated by honest, original lyrics. Having been compared to everyone from Toshi Reagon to Tracy Chapman to Ruthie Foster, Matthews’ eclectic infusion of genres has won her honorable mentions at the 2013 and 2014 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and extensive radio play from Woman of Substance radio to WTJU-Charlottesville and WMRA-Harrisonburg to KBOO-Portland.

Matthews’ first studio album, Backroads and Driveways was produced in 2011 by Karen Kane who engineered Tracy Chapman’s first EP. After hearing Crys play at a festival, Kane immediately wanted to collaborate with her. The following year Matthews released her sophomore album A Lesson Learned and an EP entitled The Izzle Ballads. In 2014 Matthews released her fourth studio album Come What May. A departure both musically and lyrically from her earlier works, Come What May bridges the gap between contemporary folk with simple storytelling filled with candor, emotion and history. Then in August 2015, Matthews released a second EP called The Izzle Ballads, vol. II. Just as in the first installment, Matthews sings about hope, love, perseverance and justice with an ease and candor that one might expect from a southeastern North Carolina native whose mother happens to be a preacher.

A prolific lyricist and composer, Matthews has found inspiration in her surroundings; from driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the compelling and heart-breaking love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. Thoughtful, realistic and emotional, Matthews’ songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music indeed soothes the soul.


June 2, 2016


2016 Performers