Luke Winslow-King's sophomore album, Old/New Baby, is nothing short of delightful. In a world overrun by chintzy pop and innocuous rock, Winslow-King's sound stands apart, as does his tremendous musicianship. This is New Orleans-style jazz, with a hint of ragtime, a taste of burlesque, and the flair of a foot-stomping jug band thrown in. Accompanied by members of the Loose Marbles Jazz Band and a handful of musical friends, this 27-year-old songster cranks out 15 tunes that sound, appropriately, both traditional and brand-new.
But Winslow-King's sound isn't just apery of a long-standing musical tradition. His cinematic, literary lyrics bring his old-style tunes into the realm of contemporary music. Add the skillfulness of his musicians, Winslow-King's own dexterous guitar playing and the variety of instrumentation—including washboard, sousaphone, slide guitar, violin, clarinet—and you discover a tight, nuanced, irresistible sound. "Never Tired" is a lighthearted romp, "Bird Dog Blues" takes cues from gnarly Delta blues and "Your Eyes, Your Eyes" is a smooth melding of somber dirge and movie-score orchestration. Throughout this gem of an album, Winslow-King's timeless composition, musicality and narrative not only entertain, they suggest that here is a young star on the rise.
Luke Winslow-King plays the Top Hat Tuesday, July 20, at 8:30 PM. Cover TBA.