Smile Politely

Luke Winslow-King returns to the Iron Post

Luke Winslow-King had a bit of a rough start when he first left his hometown of Cadillac in northern Michigan to come to New Orleans eleven years ago — on his very first day in town he had his car and all of his belongings stolen. While his car was recovered two weeks later, all of his belongings had been pawned, forcing Winslow-King to start from scratch in a brand-new town:

I always tell people I was stuck in town just long enough to fall in love with the place. I ended up going to college at the University of New Orleans studying classical music and just kind of found my home there. In most towns, if you got everything you had stolen, you couldn’t wait to get out of there. But New Orleans is just such a charming place — with the beautiful music, colorful architecture, and characters that live there, and the great food, the weather, the tropical plants … everything just comes together to make a really charming place.

While attending school in New Orleans, Winslow-King surrounded himself with local musicians and began developing his own sound: a blend of his classical training and his love of New Orleans jazz and Mississippi Delta blues.

Luke Winslow-King: “You Don’t Know Better Than Me”

[[mp3 luke_winslow_king_you_dont_know]]

Despite his affinity for New Orleans, Winslow-King still calls Michigan home. He and his band — vocalist and washboard player Esther Rose, bassist Cassidy Holden, and trumpet/piano/bass-drummer Ben Polcer — are excited to returning to their home state for four shows next week.

I asked, “How is playing a hometown show in New Orleans different from playing a (more-or-less) hometown show in Michigan? Is the response to your music different?” Winslow-King responded as such:

We always love coming back to the Midwest. People have a different attitude. They’re not only more excited, but they’re also more appreciative. In Michigan, the people there are kind of waiting for their big event of the week. They don’t go to shows every night. In New Orleans there are ten shows every night — and that’s just on one street. I think in Michigan, people get a little bit more excited about going to a show. In New Orleans, it’s just what people do at night… It’s really great to come back to Michigan. For us it’s a nice mix of going back to your home state and still being a novelty. It’s kind of nice.

Before their Michigan homecoming, the band returns to the Iron Post in Urbana for a set on Tuesday night. Winslow-King remembers his last pass through Champaign-Urbana in May, 2011, fondly:

The last time we played in Champaign-Urbana, I believe we played on a Tuesday with our friends The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra, and we had a wonderful turnout and a great night of music there. I’ve always loved Champaign-Urbana. I’ve always been on my way home from New Orleans to Michigan and I always stop through on my way and I’m excited to get back and play our new songs for our friends there.

I’ve taken the train from New Orleans to Chicago maybe seven or so times, and Champaign is always kinda a stop where you can get out and stretch your legs. I’ve hitchhiked through Champaign and had a great experience meeting people there. We just really love stopping through there.

You can catch Luke Winslow-King at the Iron Post tonight, Tuesday, April 2, at 8 p.m.
Top photo by Jason Kruppa.

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