Southern Comfort, the gorgeous new album from Regina Carter, has an interesting backstory. The violinist chose folk songs that her father’s father might have encountered while living in Alabama, found by reading books, talking to family members and exploring field recordings at the Library of Congress. In a promotional video, Carter explains that Comfort is the next step after her Reverse Thread endeavor, “in which I’m trying to figure out from where I come.” That’s no small quest.
Knowing that story just enhances the powerful experience that is Comfort. “Trampin’” is a slinky Afrobeat piece that places the leader’s soulful violin atop funky drums, bright guitar and focused acoustic bass. With its distorted electric guitar and insistent drums, “I Moaned and I Moaned” rocks, seeming to channel Led Zeppelin at one point. “See See Rider” conjures a down-and-dirty blues vibe; “Shoo-Rye” is uplifting and beautiful. The important concept behind Comfort takes things to another level, but the music more than stands on its own—it soars.—Brad Farberman
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