CD Review – Luke Winslow-King “The Coming Tide”
He looks like a frat boy from the ‘60s, preppy and well scrubbed, but when Luke Winslow-King picks up his guitar, Ry Cooder jumps out and starts sliding up and down the Delta.
After graduating from New Orleans U, the Cadillac, Michigan native spent a 12 year apprenticeship in Big Easy musicianship, sitting in with some of the City’s finest including crooner John Boutte.
The title cut on his latest release from Bloodshot sounds like vintage Cooder backed by a funky, stuttering second line drumbeat tailor made for hanky waving. Vocalist Esther Rose adds a Lucinda Williams flavor on some family style harmony with Winslow King backed with a horn section channeling theOnward Brass Band.
Winslow-King slides easily back in time for “Let ‘Em Talk.” Although it’s an original, it sounds like something minted in the forties. Not to be confused with Little Willie John’s smooth, mellow ’59 r&b classic “Let Them Talk,” Winslow King’s composition is a brassy, sassy slap in the face to a partner who picks herself up by getting him down, prompting him to tell her “you’re no devil/you’re more like a clown.”
“Staying in Town” features more brother/sisterly harmony with Rose and some laid back Hawaiian slack key guitar from Winslow-King.
Cooder pops up stylistically again on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning,” with Winslow–King keeping it simple while putting his own tasteful mellow stamp on the oft covered spiritual.
More Hawaiian style strumming and Cooder-sounding vocal on “You Don’t Know Better” with a uke-provided chop for rhythm and a pretty, light-fingered slide floating over the melody and some soft funeral band horns crooning softly in the background.
“You And Me” is another time traveling device, sliding back to the ‘40s with a piece that could have been broadcast on the Louisiana Hayride
“I Know She’ll do Right By Me” could have come from the ’30s, a mellow cabaret ballad perfect to sway with your partner for the evening to in a smoky after hours gin joint.
It takes a few bars of Winslow–King’s version of “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You” to realize it’s the same song that George Harrison covered in ’89. This one is a complete departure, with a sinister, hoodoo feel. Dark and snaky, it’ s more of a stalker’s threat than an admirer’s promise.
This is a gem from start to finish. Luke Winslow-King is a refreshing find in a sea of wannabe alt/folkie/Americana-ish somethings, a truly unique presence with a genre bustin’ style that’s truly timeless.
Release date 4/23/13