Luke Winslow-King has been gently rocking the New Orleans music scene with his elegant mix of blues, folk, ragtime, and old-timey. His latest album The Coming Tide, featuring Esther Rose, has made waves across the country, enough to be signed to Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records, joining the likes of The Riptones, Bobby Bare, Jr., Bryan Adams, Neko Case, Ha Ha Tonka, Kelly Hogan, and other incredible acts. Under the new label, he'll be re-releasing The Coming Tide with bonus tracks in March of next year.
But for now, we'll have to settle with the first album and The Coming Tide's original release. King excels in songwriting and smooth singing, reminiscent of Jack Johnson, and Rose's vocals perfectly complement as a finer-tuned, higher-pitched, less breathy Norah Jones. The opening track "The Coming Tide" is a toe-tapper with original lyrics set to a traditional folk tune. Along with the next trombone-heavy tune "Moving On", the songs' meanings are left to interpretation, unclear whether these songs are gospel songs, derived from Hurricane Katrina, or whatever else. "Let 'Em Talk" is a true New Orleans-style in a swaying laid-back message of not caring what people think of their romance. The waltz "Staying in Town" breezes by with a summertime swing and little Hawaiian picking. Track 5 "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" returns to the gospel theme with a slight 70s rock edge. "You Don't Know Better Than Me" continues the toe-tapping tunes, but it doesn't stand out in the crowd. But the following track "I've Got the Blues for Rampart Street" screams New Orleans at its finest, as it celebrates and yearns for the night life on Rampart with the streets filling with lively rhythms. "You & Me" is a fun little love ditty that is hard not to sing along with. Following is a more serious love tune in "I Know She'll Do Right by Me", though it's almost as if he is telling himself that she is loyal to him. The dark folksy "Ella Speed" is an old Leadbelly murder ballad in the spirit of Bob Dylan and my favorite by far (I have a weird fascination with murder ballads). The closing song "I've Got My Mind Set on You" is a George Harrison cover, in which King ends on a heavy beat to make the album come full circle. It's a lot like a Buddy Miller song in sound and style.
The entire album is a joy to listen to, and you won't stop toe tapping. After one listen, you'll be singing all the songs at the top of your lungs. The simplicity of the music makes for easier memorization, but it's by no means "simple". It is indeed a breath of fresh air in the music industry. Check out King's twitter, facebook, and official site. Check out "The Coming Tide" video below, and get The Coming Tide from cdbaby or amazon! And if you happen to go to New Orleans, check the band out at my new favorite bar Three Muses, where they frequently play.