Luke Winslow-King is a New Orleans-based guitarist, singer, composer, producer, and songwriter. His work is an eclectic mix that combines Mississippi delta blues, folk music, traditional jazz, and roots rock & roll. His alchemical songs blend contemporary ideas with styles from bygone eras producing a sound that is rusticand urbane, elegant and entirely his own. It is a sound that looks to the past to move to the future. This along with his burgundy voice, dapper attire and versatile guitar playing have earned him a reputation as a musician who delivers soulfully energetic and dynamic performances.
Originally from the northern Michigan town of Cadillac, LWK began studying and performing music at a young age. He started performing weekly in a local bar band at 14, formed The Winslow-King Blues Band at 16 and earned a diploma from the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy, where he majored in jazz guitar.
He first came to Louisiana at age 19 and ended up staying there almost by chance; after only a few days in town, his car – filled to the brim with a band’s worth of instruments – was stolen while parked overnight on Ursulines Street in the Tremé. During the weeks spent trying to recover his vehicle and instruments LWK fell in love with the city that he now calls home.
After recording his first self-titled debut album in 2007, he continued paying his dues, busking on Royal Street during the day and working in the clubs on Frenchman Street at night.
In 2008, LWK recorded ‘Old New Baby’ mostly live at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. He learned gospel and jazz standards accompanying John Boutté, picked up bottleneck slide guitar watching blues maestro Roberto Luti, performed in John Sinclair's Blues Scholars, and immersed himself in the trad. jazz songbook while playing with Ben Polcer and The Loose Marbles Jazz Band. During this time he was also a member Meschiya Lake's Little Big Horns and is featured on her album Lucky Devil.
This non-stop woodshedding helped Winslow-King hone his sound and become a leader among the vibrant scene of young traditionalists in New Orleans. After performing years of weekly gigs on Frenchmen Street, he now consistently tours the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. In 2015, he was named “Best Blues Performer” in Gambit Magazine’s Best of New Orleans.
Luke was married to his long time music partner Esther Rose King in December 2013, the couple divorced in October of 2015.
Super excellent trivia: LWK worked as an extra in Bill Murray's Groundhog Day as a child. Can you spot him?
Originally from Cadillac, Michigan, Winslow-King began studying and performing music at a young age , he first came to Louisiana at age 19 with Earthwork Music founders Seth Bernard and Daniel Kahn presenting “From California to the New York Island: The songs and stories of Woody Guthrie.” In 2002, a year after receiving his diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy, he made a pilgrimage back to New Orleans and ending up staying there almost by chance; after only a few days in town, Winslow-King’s car – filled to the brim with a band’s worth of instruments – was stolen while parked overnight on Ursulines Street in the Tremé. During the weeks spent trying to recover his vehicle and instruments LWK fell in love with the city that he now calls home. He enrolled in the music theory and composition program at the University of New Orleans in the spring of 2003 and was awarded an ambassador scholarship to study Czech classical music at St. Charles University in Prague that summer.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Winslow-King lived in New York City and was employed as a music therapist by the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics in the Bronx. He also held a music teacher’s position at the La Velle School for the Blind. While in New York, Luke studied composition privately and recorded with Grammy nominated avant-garde composer “Blue” Gene Tyranny, and attended Jack Hardy’s legendary songwriter’s circle.
In 2007 he headed back home to New Orleans after recording his first self-titled debut album and continued paying his dues, busking on Royal Street during the day and working in the clubs on Frenchman Street at night. In 2008 recorded ‘Old New Baby’ mostly live at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. He learned gospel and jazz standards accompanying John Boutté, studied bottleneck guitar with blues maestro Roberto Luti (formerly of The Washboard Chaz Blues Trio), and immersed himself in the trad jazz songbook while playing with the Loose Marbles Jazz Band. During this time he was also a member Meschiya Lake's Little Big Horns and is featured on her album ‘Lucky Devil.’
This non-stop woodshedding helped Winslow-King hone his sound, earn respect as a leader among the young traditionalists in New Orleans, and become known as one of the hardest working, authentic, and original acts in Americana music. After performing years of weekly gigs on Frenchmen Street, he now consistently tours the United States, Europe, and Australia. With his 3rd album ‘The Coming Tide’ LWK and his band landed a support slot opening for Jack White on his Blunderbus tour and were signed to Bloodshot Records in 2013.
In 2014 LWK toured Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia with ‘Blues for the Balkans’ raising money for flood relief in the area. An unreleased documentary was made about the experience.
LWK landed in front of larger audiences over the last few years while sharing the stage with the likes of Roseanne Cash, Jack White, Taj Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco, Robert Earl Keen, Pokey Lafarge, Chris Thile, and the Rebirth Brass Band.
HIGHLIGHTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
-Recieved award for Best Blues Performer from Gambit Magazine’s Best of New Orleans in 2015
-Performed on CNN, CBS's NCIS New Orleans, and the Discovery Channel.
-Named "Writer of the Week" by American Songwriter Magazine in January of2014
-Composed and conducted original music for the Dithyrambalina New Orleans Music Box Project in 2013.
-Commissioned to compose and perform an entire concert of original music for full orchestra by the Cadillac Symphony in 2013
-Participated in recording sessions for John Boutté, Little Freddy King, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Playing for Change, George Porter, Jr., and Paul Sanchez, among others.
-Kyle Newacheck, one of the creators of Comedy Central's "Workaholics," directed LWK's latest music video for the single “Swing the Thing,” which premiered on EW.com in the fall of 2014.
-In 2013, Winslow-King was nominated as Best Male Performer by Offbeat Magazine, alongside Dr. John and Boutte 2013, and for Best Blues Artist in 2014
Luke Winslow-King's self titled album was released in 2007 after his stint working as a music therapist in Harlem and in The Bronx. The album reflects his classical and Michigan folk upbringing and also features lyrical collaborations with poet Ji Un Choi.
Old/New Baby, his 2009 release, was recorded at Preservation Hall in New Orleans and marks the beginning of his career as a New Orleans recording artist. The album highlights his jazz and blues influences and features an all-star cast of local sidemen, including Ben Polcer, Rick Trolsen, Michael Magro, Jason Jurzak, and Mike Voelker.
The Coming Tide was his first album with Bloodshot records and introduced his music to a national audience. Recalling the grimy streets of New Orleans of the French Quarter and beyond, it’s a charmingly disarming amalgam of early 20th century jazz, Delta blues, American folksong and Southern gospel, and was named as one of American Songwriter's Best Albums of 2013.
It features Cassidy Holden on bass and Esther Rose on washboard and vocals
Everlasting Arms (2014) is Winslow-King’s second release for Bloodshot Records and finds Winslow-King and company building upon previous creative efforts with a wider scope, exploring a sonically and stylistically panoramic songwriting vision. The album plays like a biography, with Winslow-King’s sharing snapshots of picaresque scenes from his life with the listener, an aural photo album that details the struggles and misunderstandings, the joys and the celebrations that we can all recognize in our own lives, experiences that cumulatively generating growth and which eventually give us all unique sense of self.