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Reminiscent of early ‘50s blues & soul 45s but with an updated pop-inflected rootsy twist--equal parts Delta punk rock, jivin’ city blues and understated elegance.
Everlasting Arms is an album like a biography, reading of Luke Winslow-King’s road to the current. There are snapshots of picturesque scenes that detail struggle, risk, misunderstanding, and celebration, all of it cumulatively generating growth and eventually a unique sense of self.
His fourth full-length album Everlasting Arms carries on in balancing tradition with modernity. The title track – a re-write of A. Showalter’s original – opens with a sauntering Louisiana swing, and a warm introduction of Southern charm as Winslow-King’s sings in his velvety timber, “You can lean on me brother/ I believe you’ve carried too long.” Between Rose and LWK trading verses and lock stepping on choral harmonies, and the howl of Winslow-King’s bottleneck slide guitar, there is a casual brightness, a familiarity reminiscent of early ‘50s blues & soul 45s but with an updated pop-inflected rootsy twist.
The collection of 14 songs represents a spectrum of emotions and textures. “Swing That Thing” is a burner; it’s equal parts Delta punk rock and jivin’ city blues with a wonderfully raunchy resonator guitar tone that will have you in convulsive fits on the dance floor and Luke’s searing vibrato to knock you on your ass. “Levee Man” is what it would sound like if Cole Porter wrote a cheeky love letter for the burlesque show, complete with tantalizing trumpet, trombone and clarinet cat calls. And with its kinetic, Friday-night calypso beat, it’s easy to imagine “La Bega’s Carousel” is what Hunter S. Thompson may have heard inside the corrugated tin-roofed rum dives of Cuba.
Winslow-King balances the optimism with a spiritually heavier side in tunes like the piano-led ballad “Graveyard Blues,” with its pitch-black lyrics, “They’ll be hanging me tonight/ When the stars are lit/ And the moon shone bright/ I finally found one true way to lose/ My lowdown graveyard blues.” “Wanton Way of Loving” brings Esther Rose to the spotlight as the misunderstood country belle (“My wanton way of loving/ Now I’m bound to roam”), showing off her simultaneously steely and porcelain vocal tone, backed by a wilting, wandering violin melody.
Recorded amongst four studios – primarily at Piety Street in New Orleans, and including Jambona Lab in Italy to incorporate for the accompaniment of guitarist/mentor Luti – Everlasting Arms marks the rise of a new American songwriter and a group that sets a fresh standard for compositional range and dynamic atmospheric variety.