Luke, with a strong knack for slide guitar, sounds authentic without coming off too dated, and he does it well.— BrooklynVegan
They’re one of the most professional, staunchly original, and true-to-their-core bands working today.— American Songwriter
On I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always, his fifth album and third for Bloodshot Records, Luke Winslow-King draws from a deep, dark creative well, turning heartbreak and divorce into an inspired soundtrack for picking up the pieces.
Electric and sentimentally raw, the album is part sonic travelogue, part handbook on navigating the stages of grief. It pulses through LWK’s geographical stomping grounds, starting with the pre-war jive of New Orleans, travelling the bloodlines that flow along the Mississippi River toward the Delta bottleneck-slide, and the funky meter of Memphis R&B. Further north, it takes a right for an infusion of greasy Chicago blues, and arrives at the headwaters of his birthplace in rural Michigan for some tell-‘em-like-it-is confessionals.
The album was written and recorded while Luke and his newly formed band were on a 2015 summer tour in Italy (and later finished in New Orleans’s Parlor Studios, mixed by Colin DuPuis, engineer for the Black Keys). The New Orleans-based polymath matches a technical wizardry with a thematic immediacy detailing a relationship in freefall. The songs unfold as diary entries put to his idiosyncratic blend of roots, pop and rock. It’s a Luke Winslow-King record unlike any he’s ever done; he’s found the light in the darkness and he’s plugging in and turning up to bare his soul.
Through nine songs LWK stylistically nods to a blend of contemporaries and influences like Gary Clark Jr., Bonnie Raitt, and Ry Cooder while maintaining a unique, coherent voice. He forges harmony between the modern - pull up a chair on the porch for the sinister rock & roll growl of “Louisiana Blues” - and the traditional - the cowboy country campfire ballad “Heartsick Blues”, complete with jangly dusty acoustic and the forlorn fiddle of Matt Rhody. The latter draws on some damn fine lyrical reference points, too: “She’s singing ‘Please Release Me’ [a reference to the Ray Price song], and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ [Hank Williams]/ It’s thinking about her ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ [another Hank classic]/ That makes me want to die”.
There are moments of suffering (the Petty-inflected “Change Your Mind”), desperate pleas (the brooding “Esther Please”), anger and indignation (the joyously bouncy, second-line ramble in “Act Like You Love Me”), and resignation (the soulful Muscle Shoals mosey of “Watch Me Go”). It all bottoms out with the shimmering heat of the Delta thrum in the title track. Through the slow & lo, voodoo chile attack of il maestro Italian guitarist Roberto Luti, drummer Benji Bohannon, electric bassist Brennan Andes, and keyboardist Mike Lynch, LWK rips open the Fender and howls at the moon, “When I had you/ I thought that you’d always be true/ Now look here, pretty baby/ Look what you made me do.”
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. “On My Way” is a Sunday morning redemption spiritual, part farewell letter and part celebration; the score to the movie’s ending credits, the hope in the sunrise (“I’m on my way/ Across the golden valley”). The final track, “No More Crying Today,” reaches a place of forgiveness and strength, a gratitude that emotional pain can make you feel more alive.
Although you know he’s been through some turbulent times, Luke Winslow-King fights for a sense of self, perhaps now different than it once was, and comes out the other side knowing of love and loss. Because trouble don’t last always.
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 rustic and 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?
Official Website: Luke Winslow-King Online