For his fourth album (second on Bloodshot), Luke Winslow-King doesn’t stray too far from the sound of his grand 2013 release The Coming Tide, and that’s all right by me. The New Orleans guitarist, steeped in the blues with a side of old-time jazz is a laid-back treasure. “Everlasting Arms” opens the album, a call for solidarity that ambles with Winslow-Kings tasty slide guitar fills and his wife, Esther Rose King on harmony vocals. The next cut, “Swing That Thing” is pure juke-joint blues raunch, with Luke sounding a bit like R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough, sweating in the Louisiana heat.
“I’m Your Levee Man” sounds as if Winslow-King spent some time on Frenchman Street in New Orleans, with the clarinet of Orange Kellin providing a hint of Sidney Bechet against the trombones and sousaphone. It’s a sound that brings back the early days of jazz, but refreshed by King’s assured vocals. “Cadillac Slim” is a rousing bit of bravado, sounding a lot like the classic hits produced by the recently departed Cosimo Matassa during the ’50s and ’60s for Little Richard or Professor Longhair in New Orleans. Newcomer Roberto Luti brings a bit of Stonesy electric slide to “Domino Sugar”, moving Winslow-Kings music a bit more mainstream, but never losing his genuine talent for creating a mood that respects what came before, on his own terms.
Luke Winslow-King is the real deal, an honest purveyor of a music not heard much anymore, but Everlasting Arms, with its blues, jazz and gospel touches, might just bring this form of “roots” music back into fashion. One hopes!