Luke Winslow-King

The Coming Tide

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Singer and songwriter Luke Winslow-King isn't your garden variety blues convert. Born in Michigan, where he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, specializing in jazz guitar, he then studied music theory and composition at the University of New Orleans, earning a scholarship to study Czech music at St. Charles University in Prague. He also worked as a music therapist for a time, taught music at the La Velle School for the Blind, wrote scores for theater and movie productions, and has done a couple of stints as a street musician in New Orleans, where he makes his home and co-founded a record label, Earthwork Music. He knows his way around the American roots music block, and all of the avenues he's taken inform The Coming Tide, which is an organic mesh of country blues, traditional jazz, gospel, ragtime, folk, and a dash of rock & roll, somehow emerging as both ragged and elegant all at once. A fine guitarist, Winslow-King doesn't have a great voice in the commercial sense, but he has the perfect smoky, wine-soaked voice for vernacular expression, and he also wisely (he produced the album) has bandmate Esther Rose buoy things with harmony vocals on most of the tracks here, which gives the vocals just the right balance. Among the highlights on this refreshingly varied but still connectedly coherent set are the folky title tune, "The Coming Tide," a trombone-led "Moving On," and the gospel and blues mesh of "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning," although again, everything here seems to fall together naturally, one of Winslow-King's greatest strengths as a performer and recording artist.

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