Trax 041714

Trax 041714

By Bliss Bowen 04/15/2014

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REGINA CARTER, Southern Comfort (Sony Masterworks): (Four Stars out of Five)
The eclectic jazz violinist follows 2010’s African-influenced “Reverse Thread” with this inquisitive journey through American roots idioms — bluegrass, blues, country, folk, gospel — as well as her own family heritage. Amidst a generous set of respectfully revisited traditionals like “Miner’s Child” and “I’m Going Home,” Carter and a tight, sympatico band offer elegant interpretations of Gram Parsons (“Hickory Wind”), Hank Williams (“Honky Tonkin’”) and Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee (a joyful, swinging “Blues de Basile”). At Zipper Concert Hall in LA Saturday.
THE REV. SHAWN AMOS, Tells It  (self-released): (3.5 Stars out of 5)
Singer-songwriter Amos dives deep into the blues on this worthy EP comprised of two originals and four astutely selected chestnuts, including a ballsy romp through “I’m the Face” by the High Numbers (more widely known as the Who) that finds Amos blowing some mean old-school harp. With Steve Jordan executive producing and Niko Bolas mixing, it’s a polished, classy production, even when Amos is teasing nasty fun from Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Schoolgirl.” Release party at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill in Bel Air Wednesday.

ANNALIVIA, The Same Way Down  (self-released): (3 Stars out of 5)
Fans of Aoife O’Donovan and Alison Krauss may want to seek out this string ensemble fusing Appalachian and Celtic elements. Frontwoman Liz Simmons’ sweet soprano rides lightly atop fiddle-centered arrangements as guitarist/mandolinist Flynn Cohen’s robust, almost percussive playing holds down the bottom end. O’Donovan lends her ethereal vocals to the Crooked Still-esque “Restless for Awhile”; other highlights include a shruti box-grounded take on the traditional “Turtle Dove.” At Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena Thursday, April 24.

RAY BONNEVILLE, Easy Gone  (Red House): (Four Stars out of 5)
Grooooooove. That’s the steady-rolling foundation for this Austin-based blues guitarist, who also wields a merciless pen. Whether sketching a slinky murder tale in “Love is Wicked” (“A perfume on his coat/ Made her look for the lies he told/ Where love used to live”) or suggesting existential crisis via imagery in “Lone Freighter’s Wail” (“Yonder a tombstone/ In the shade of a tree/ Wild flowers for/ Company”), Bonneville embellishes his trademark sound while cradling vivid poetry in those smoldering grooves. Highlights: “Who Do Call the Shots,” “Shake Off My Blues,” “When I Get to New York.”


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