Moses Roscoe, a blues singer and guitarist from Windsor, N.C., performed an engaging collection of country tunes Friday night at the Washington Ethical Society auditorium. If some of those tunes weren't exactly country in its purest form, Roscoe's weathered voice and finger-style guitar lent a backwoods flavor to them just the same.
Like Virginia's John Jackson, who was in the audience, Roscoe is really more of a songster than a blues man. He's acquired an unusually broad repertoire over the years, embracing everything from rural blues and guitar rags to gospel, children's songs and R&B. His opening set was as genial and as relaxed as a front-porch recital, so it was easy to forgive those moments when his guitar playing seemed tentative and the strings buzzed a bit.
Actually, Roscoe is a rather sophisticated Piedmont-style guitarist. His tone was crisp when he ran melodies up the neck on tunes such as "Georgia Rag," or when he played shuffle patterns on the bass strings in "Big Boss Man," but his first-position treble accents and triplets weren't nearly as well defined and gave some of his performances, intentionally or not, a ragged edge.