A New Orleans transplant by way of Michigan, Luke Winslow-King is a classically trained guitarist with a rich, bittersweet voice and a healthy admiration for the music of Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson. This past Thursday, with the release date of his latest LP on Bloodshot Records, I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always, just a week away on September 30th, Luke Winslow-King and company stormed New York City’s Mercury Lounge with an hour long onslaught of fiery delta blues.
The trio, consisting of drums, bass, and guitar, took to the stage discreetly before unexpectedly launching into the title track from their upcoming release “I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always”. A gritty number featuring some mean slide guitar work, the song has a slightly darker undercurrent than much of Luke Winslow-King’s previous recordings, and it went over quite well with the enthusiastic audience.
Off to a hot start, they quickly followed it up with “Travelin’ Myself”, a track from 2014’s Everlasting Arms with a classic delta blues feel. The incredibly relaxed and natural Benji Bohannon played the song’s rollin’ and tumblin’ rhythm with an intricate drum pattern while Luke Winslow-King laid into a scorching solo on his fire engine red guitar.
Very quickly it became clear that not only were these three musicians of unbelievable skill, but they also relish and appreciate playing with one another. Benji Bohannon and bassist Ben Polcer held down the rhythm section with ease while casually trading jokes and laughing during “Cadillac Slim”, an autobiographical song about Luke Winslow-King’s move from his hometown of Cadillac, Michigan to New Orleans at the age of nineteen.
After blazing through a number of vintage blues tunes, the group turned back to their own material for the crowd favorite, “Swing that Thing” which saw them incorporating a few verses from another classic, “Who Do You Love?”.
By the end of his set, the charming and talented Luke Winslow-King had the entire crowd in his hand and, having announced that his new record would be available for purchase early, the line from the merch booth stretched through the bar.