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Luke Winslow-King

The Coming Tide – 2013 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

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CDs by Luke Winslow-King

Hailing from Cadillac, Mich., singer, songwriter, and guitarist Winslow-King has lived in New Orleans since 2001. Since living in the Big Easy, he's collaborated with a number of local musicians from John Boutte and "Washboard" Chaz Leary to Paul Sanchez. On this new album, he and his partner, singer/washboardist Esther Rose, deliver an electrifying blend of the sultry, dark, and celebratory rhythms of ragtime, jazz, blues, gospel, country and rock-and-roll that they've absorbed over the past decade.

A reedy note of apocalypse runs through the entire album and is nowhere more evident than on the opening call-and-response title track, a Creole rhumba punctuated by Winslow-King's shimmering slide guitar break that urges listeners "You better come inside for the coming tide."

The following song, Movin' On (Towards a Better Day, captures the celebratory spirit of a New Orleans jazz funeral, with its rousing conversation between trombone and trumpet and Rose's syncopated washboarding. Two ramblers croon their decision to quit the road, at least for one night of dancing and love, to each other on the slinky waltz-like, Staying in Town, with Winslow-King's slide chasing Rose's washboard across the dance floor. The counsel that the end is near and requires waiting on the Lord is taken up again in the gospel/blues shuffle Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning, while the sunny jazz of I've Got the Blues for Rampart Street longingly sings the praises of old New Orleans and its smoky bars and cabarets. Winslow-King and Rose's growling, down-home blues take on Rudy Clark's I've Got My Mind Set on You, a hit for George Harrison, throbs and pulses with the shouting life of Delta juke joint on a steamy Saturday night.

As the stirring, muddy waters of slide guitars, washboard, trombones, and trumpets wash over us, they carry us away with the rising tide on a journey that takes us into a carnival of the strange, steamy, merry, dismal and beautiful.