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Luke Winslow-King
Old/New Baby
Fox On A Hill Productions
www.lukewinslowking.com


If your mind was caught up and mesmerized by the dancing pink elephants from Disney's Fantasia and the music that accompanied that mesmer, or your heart has a tendency towards the vaudevillian aspects of early American folk music, then have I got an album for you. Luke Winslow-King is an obviously talented lad who lends his hand to churning out tunes with a seemingly colorful history behind them. On his latest record Old/New Baby Winslow-King shows off his vocal abilities to great effect, all the while buoying the melodies with brilliant and classic instrumentation. The album starts off with a jazzy, hungover ditty called "As April Is To May" that recalls the great history of animated drunkenness. The song has a swing and mood that is very dark, yet lithesome and filled with syncopated bomp. Then Winslow-King sidesteps into more comfortable ground, picking up his dobro and invoking the spirit of American folk at its finest. "Shoeshine" has the kind of drooping rhythm and slippery guitar that makes players like Bill Morrisey so fantastic, and the song has horns that carry countermelodies through the background, imbuing the track with a surreal beauty. "Never Tired" is classic folk-hop, filled with snappy snare hits and great slide guitar work, as well as sing-songy lyrics that are almost silly in their earnestness. Winslow-King somehow takes the spirit of New Orleans and fuses it into his songs, imparting a ragtime breakdown into "Below" before dropping back to the matter-of-factness of "I'll See You When I Look At You", a song that is simple in its musical approach but contains an immense amount of folky beauty. Winslow-King's blending of slide guitar, horns, ukulele, and doghouse bass is instantly likeable and mostly traditional in its approach, fusing classic musical elements with a vigor that belies his Northern origins. Don't believe me? Take a listen to the cool jazz of "Birthday Stomp" or the gritty, delta-infused blues of "Bird Dog Blues" to form your own opinion of what this Michigan-born lad has in his musical blood.

-L. Keane

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