Singer, guitarist, composer and songwriter Luke Winslow-King will be featured at RadioLive, the venerable WUWF radio production showcasing diverse musical talent from across the country. The only price of admission is one or more non-perishable food items for the benefit of Manna Food Pantries of Northwest Florida.
Millions of viewers caught Luke’s performance on the Discovery Channel’s “After the Catch IV,” where he played live before commercial breaks on the show. Luke was living down the street from where the show was filmed: the Blue Nile Bar in New Orleans’ Faubourg Marigny district. When the producers asked him to perform, he did not know what to expect. Luke knew host Mike Rowe from his other shows and commercials, but was unaware of just how many people actually watch “Deadliest Catch.”
Luke describes his musical style as a blend of traditional jazz and classical blues: pre-war music, he calls it. It is new music in an old style, haunting in its sound and delivery. Growing up in northern Michigan, he listened to rock and roll, but when he discovered the music of Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie, he knew what he wanted to do. Luke became a student of jazz, bebop, post-1950s, Dixieland, and ragtime music, working to create his own fusion of those genres. He found master teachers, studying gospel and jazz standards with John Boutte, playing traditional jazz tunes with The Loose Marbles Jazz Band and learning bottleneck slide guitar from Roberto Luti.
Luke has been a full-time resident of New Orleans for a while now. He originally arrived in New Orleans from Cadillac, Mich. while on a tour with a group of musicians playing Woody Guthrie’s music. Parking their car on Ursulines Avenue in the French Quarter, the band returned the next day to find that the car and all of their musical equipment had vanished.
Despite his harsh introduction to New Orleans, it took only two weeks before Luke realized he was drawn to the city. Besides, there was the excitement of being out on his own for the first time, shaping his own life, his own future.
He has since spent time in New York, as well as Europe. Ultimately, he always comes back to New Orleans, because it is home to him now. The city has warmly embraced him, and he has great friends and mentors there. He was just nominated by Offbeat Magazine for a 2010 Best Emerging Artist award.
For about a year and a half, Luke was employed as a music therapist by the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics and taught music at the Lavelle School for the Blind, both in the Bronx. That experience was multifaceted and dynamic: he worked with adults who had developmental issues—all ages, all backgrounds and ethnicities—in classroom settings, one-on-one and small groups. Taking his students to concerts and on field trips gave them the experience of enjoying and exploring every facet of music together. Luke feels he learned about humanity, which inspired him to delve deeper with his songwriting. While it was good to take a break from performing, Luke quickly realized what he should be doing is making his own music.
Luke claims he has a rollercoaster of a relationship with songwriting—a demanding and inspiring lifelong partner. American Songwriter magazine described his upcoming album, “You Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya,’ as an under-the-radar, don’t-miss album. Luke’s album “Old/New Baby,” was a 2009 American Songwriter staff pick as well: more instrument-filled and more lighthearted than his first full-length release, “Debut Album.” When asked about the advantage of recording on vinyl, he says he requests it for its unique sound texture.
Luke is excited about the future and is busy keeping the fun alive. In addition to his appearance on RadioLive in Pensacola, his schedule includes weekly performances in New Orleans, recording with the Cadillac Symphony Orchestra in his Michigan hometown and a summer tour of Europe and Canada. He’ll be doing more regional touring as well.
RADIOLIVE PRESENTS LUKE WINSLOW-KING
WHEN: Doors open at 5 p.m., performance begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6
WHERE: Museum of Commerce, 330 S. Jefferson St.
COST: Admission is free with one or more non-perishable food items to benefit Manna Food Pantries of Northwest Florida.