New Orleans is a city that teems with music. It rings out on every street corner, from the French quarter to the Garden district, through Treme to the battered and bruised Ninth Ward. There’s a musician on every street corner and why not? They breed them there by the dozen, others flock there by the hundreds and even if it was the last reason somebody went there, it seems hard to imagine anyone who stays in town for longer than a fortnight wouldn’t want to pick up a horn and blow.
Luke Winslow-King was not bred in New Orleans, but more than 1,000 miles due north in Cadillac, Michigan. It doesn’t seem like he ‘flocked’ to the Big Easy either, describing his migration there as happening “by chance”, but to listen to this record, it seems little short of pre-ordained. In the dozen years he has spent there learning his trade, Winslow-King has soaked up so much of the city’s character that his sound can immediately transport you to the jazz halls of the French quarter and the bars of Frenchman Street.
Like so many debut albums, The Coming Tide has a forward-looking name (as well as one that speaks to the constant spectre of flooding in this vulnerable place), but this is unashamedly stuck in the past. Carefully blending blues, jazz and delta-folk Winslow-King has produced a fine record which serves as a showcase for the modern-day traditionalists at work in the Crescent City.