Luke Winslow-King

Old/New Baby

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Luke Winslow-King is both a music educator and a New Orleans street musician, which may help explain the sound of his second album, Old/New Baby. Winslow-King's music is steeped in New Orleans tradition, and while these are original songs for which he has composed the music (and, for the most part, co-written the lyrics with his girlfriend, Ji Un Choi), they usually sound like they could have been written 100 years ago. With their Dixieland arrangements supporting Winslow-King's acoustic guitar or banjo, they also sound like they could have been played on the streets of New Orleans (or maybe in a square, for the bigger ensembles) around the same time. That playing is infectiously attractive and characteristically New Orleans-sounding, notably on "Birthday Stomp," an instrumental that would be recognizable to Buddy Bolden or Louis Armstrong. "Dragon Fly, Dragon Flower," meanwhile, threatens to segue into "St. James Infirmary" at any second. The weak spot on the disc is actually Winslow-King's singing. He has a sandpaper tenor sometimes reminiscent of Steve Forbert (but more delicate) that floats over the instruments, carrying lyrics that often have a childlike quality to them. But he is often overwhelmed by the music, particularly the horns. Still, this is engaging music in a traditional mode that will appeal to fans of Leon Redbone and Keb' Mo'.

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