Luke Winslow-King Credit: Victor Alonso

The influence of gospel music on singer-songwriter Luke Winslow-King is obvious, even when he’s playing an up-tempo song with a title such as “Swing That Thing.” Though King doesn’t approach it in a superficial, frantic, tambourine-banging way, if you’re familiar at all with southern gospel you can easily identify its hallmarks in his use of chord changes and repetition—it often vamps on a groove. And if it’s possible to be reflective while delivering songs with a hard backbeat, then Winslow-King fills the bill. A Michigan native who relocated to New Orleans in 2001, Winslow-King got his start playing with a diverse set of musicians, including soul singer John Boutte and trad-jazz group the Loose Marbles Jam Band, while spending his days busking. His debut album for Bloodshot, 2013’s The Coming Tide, reflected his NOLA experience, with second-line rhythms all over the place. Winslow-King moved back to his home state in 2017, and while his most recent album, last year’s Blue Mesa, brings a bluesier influence to the forefront, it still has a touch of southern soul every now and then. The record is dominated by slide guitar, and on “Born to Roam” he affects an up-tempo country-rock sound that still retains the air of mystery heard throughout his repertoire.   v