Recently I was in Saint Louis and stumbled upon a lively blues trio making music at a corner hangout called the Blues City Deli, in the Soulard District. We showed up for lunch at noonish on a Friday, and found a line out the door into the street. Hello?! Red beans and rice for $3.50, and traditional southern blues for free? A match made in heaven. Inside, we found a festive atmosphere that should have been no surprise from a town that boasts the second largest Mardi Gras in the country. People tried to make room for us as if they were a bunch of friends at a house party, even though there was barely enough room to turn around. And when the band got going, we found out why.
Luke Winslow-King and his bandmates Esther Rose (vocals/washboard) and Cassidy Holden (bass fiddle) play a compelling blend of original and traditional songs that live right at the intersection of Delta blues, New Orleans swing, and indie folk. His first release on Bloodshot Records, the new album The Coming Tide will hit the streets on April 23. With his vintage slide guitar and silky vocals, King draws us into a humid back street somewhere in the French Quarter, where laughter echoes down the alley and horns beckon from all-night jazz clubs.
Originally from Cadillac, Michigan, Luke Winslow-King came to Louisiana at the age of age 19. After only a few days in New Orleans, the story goes, his car was stolen while filled with valuable instruments. It was during the two or three weeks that he stuck around trying to recover his vehicle and instruments that he fell in love with the city that he now calls home. He began paying his dues busking on Royal Street in the day and working regularly at the clubs on Frenchman Street at night. Over ten years, he soaked up gospel, jazz, and blues standards from the locals and began writing his own material in that same vintage vein. Enjoy!
LISTEN: The Coming Tide
LISTEN: I Know She’ll Do Right By Me