Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort

Violinist Regina Carter is primarily known for her work in jazz, but she’s an extremely versatile player who looks for historical connections outside the genre from time to time, including the recent African-themed Reverse Thread. For Southern Comfort, she turns to folk songs heard by her coal-miner grandfather in Alabama, as well as tunes she found while digging through the Library of Congress’ Lomax Family and John Work III collections. That said, this album isn’t an attempt at traditional authenticity—the musicians and arrangers here are progressive New York–based guys. Thus, “Trampin’” skitters along on Afrobeat rhythms, and “Shoo-Rye” falls more in the Appalachian tradition propelled by new flourishes of drums and accordion. Gram Parsons' “Hickory Wind” is treated as a straight-up country instrumental, complete with pedal steel and accordion, while things turn to the Cajun tradition for “Blues de Basile.” Other highlights include the gospel-blues-rock “I Moaned and I Moaned” and the poignant “I’m Going Home.”

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