Album Review

Luke Wilson King explores new territory on Blue Mesa

Luke Winslow King - Blue Mesa

blue mesa cover courtesy of Bloodshot

Luke Winslow King

Blue Mesa

(Bloodshot)

Known primarily as a “traditionalist,” New Orleans based guitarist Luke Winslow King dares to embrace the mainstream on his fourth album for the Bloodshot label, Blue Mesa, released in May of 2018. King is a gifted songwriter and Americana stylist and fine slide guitar player most well know for playing pre-war jazz and blues. On this new album, he delves into classic Southern Rock, commercial Blues, and Country, navigating the multiple genres with ease and keeping the focus on his whiskey-smooth vocals. Opening hymn “You Got Mine,’ is joyous Gospel song, co-written with friend and legendary New Orleans musician “Washboard” Lissa Driscoll (who passed away in September 2017), that celebrates unconditional Love. Italian Blues guitar dynamo Roberto Luti delivers scorching leads on the psychedelic swamp boogie of “Leghorn Women” borrowing from the Buddy Guy playbook while King does his best Jim Morrison. The title track is a southwest travelogue ode to booth an enchanting landscape and a lost lover. Four on the floor Rocker “Born To Roam,” is an American Pie anthem and the delicate ballad “Better For Knowing You,” reveals the influence of Townes Van Zandt on King. He and the crew then dive headlong into some deep Hill Country Blues for the stomping “I Thought I Heard You,” that’s filled with dynamic breakdowns and a soaring slide guitar jam. The choir joins King for the inspirational “Break Down The Walls,” that could be a lost gem from the Stephan Foster songbook. A sweet horn section joins in on the tasty Blues rhumba “Chicken Dinner,” and the smooth as silk country poem “After The Rain,’ features Chet Atkins styled pickin’ that would be right at home on the Opry stage. King closes with the heartfelt ramble “Farwell Blues,” coloring his sage advice with fiddle, accordion, and lonesome steel.   

Rick J Bowen