Review / Photos / Setlist | Luke Winslow-King @ The Hideout 2/19/15

Words / Photos: Alex Wood

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Luke Winslow-King brought some of his New Orleans warmth to The Hideout on Thursday, despite the below-zero temperatures outside.

With the help of wife Esther Rose on harmonies and washboard as well as a fiddle player, Winslow-King ran through a boisterous acoustic set full of the blues and New Orleans swing.

“The Crystal Water Spring” opened the show on a bluesy note, Winslow-King’s vocals heartfelt and warm. “Jitterbug Swing” took the energy up a notch, a slide-guitar solo giving way to an upbeat dance track.

“Never Tired” played up the cuteness of the husband-wife duo, the lyrics playful and lighthearted, the accompaniment falling out to handclaps with assistance from the audience.

In this song and throughout the set, Esther Rose’s washboard played a significant role in the band’s sound, her finger-pick crashing with a loud “clack” in perfect time, mimicking hand claps. Meanwhile, Winslow-King’s guitar picking laid down a foundation for fiddle and harmonica to play atop, the vocals harmonies nearly perfect.

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This isn’t necessarily anything new, but it doesn’t need to be. This is an understanding of southern musical traditions, and an ability to perform them right.

Winslow-King has a knack for writing extremely catchy vocal melodies, perhaps never exemplified better than with “Everlasting Arms,” the title-track to his most recent full-length.

The song feels so natural it sounds familiar your first time hearing it. Days after the show, the performance is still stuck in my head, Winslow-King yelling the chorus into the microphone as the crowd sings the words back in call-and-response fashion.

“Coming Tide” featured a similarly memorable melody, slide-guitar and fiddle adding to its festive vibe. The song went straight into “Traveling Myself,” a chugging delta blues number that demands toe-tapping, if not stomping.

New song “Break Down The Walls” featured heavy contributions from the audience, the song relying again on call-and-response vocals as addictive as the melody to “Everlasting Arms.” The song began slowly, the audience quickly learning the chorus, then sped up to double-time. A highlight of the evening, the song is a promising sign of things to come for Winslow-King and Esther Rose.

“Swing That Thing” closed the show, cramming the festive energy of New Orleans into a three-minute performance, Winslow-King’s vocals powerful and assertive.

Though many try to dig up the sounds of southern country and blues, few have done so as naturally and successfully as Winslow-King’s live delivery.

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1. The Crystal Water Spring
2. Jitterbug Swing
3. Never Tired
4. Everlasting Arms
5. You Don’t Know Better Than Me
6. ? (cover song)
7. Cadillac Slim
8. San Francisco Bay Blues
9. You & Me
10. The Coming Tide >
11. Traveling Myself
12. Break Down The Walls (new song)
13. Swing That Thing

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