Luke Winslow-King Loosens Up to “Swing That Thing”


At this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the feel-good music of local star Luke Winslow-King grabbed the attention of Kyle Newacheck, a familiar face on Comedy Central’s Workaholics. (In addition to creating, writing and directing the series, Newacheck plays a drug dealer named Karl.)

“He wandered into the crowd,” Winslow-King explains. “We caught his ear, and he stuck around for the rest of the show.”

Newacheck made a point to introduce himself after the show — and it just so happened he had a crew at his disposal. Within the week, video production was underway for “Swing That Thing,” a barnburner that naturally lends itself to a live-show treatment.

“He had a couple of semitrucks full of gear and a handful of guys who were willing to do it,”
Winslow-King adds. “We found a club that would lend its space to us. We got New Orleans Rum and NOLA Brewing Company to give us liquor, so we were partying.”

Followers of the Crescent City’s music scene will certainly recognize Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Darryl “Dancing Man 504” Young, while Amy Johnson of the NOLA Chorus Girls also gets some time in the spotlight. She also recruited many of the exceptional dancers for the shoot.

“Friends from all different walks of life showed up, which I think was really cool. We were careful not to focus too much on having sexy, young people in the crowd. And I think the video shows that we have a diverse audience at our shows,” Winslow-King says. “New Orleans is different. Everybody’s dancing and drinking. We have some shows where people sit and pay attention, but a lot of shows are a real party scene.”

A native of Cadillac, Michigan, Winslow-King first became intrigued by New Orleans as an 18-year-old on a road trip with friends, playing Woody Guthrie songs. On their first day in town, his car was stolen. By the time the situation was resolved, he’d decided to enroll in college there. Now 31, he’s a regular on the New Orleans music scene, but he’s also built a substantial tour base in Europe — Italy and Holland, in particular. He’ll be returning for a series of shows early next year.

Meanwhile, “Swing That Thing” comes from his newest release, Everlasting Arms, a diverse collection of styles that retains a loose and relaxed vibe throughout the project.

“We really focused on a lot on the feel — between the drums and guitar and vocal — just making sure that the feel was smooth and comfortable,” he says. “We don’t want to be put into a ‘mixed bag’ category of a band that does all these different styles, but we just try to make sure we’re making them our own and putting our own mark on them, no matter the style.”

Take a look at “Swing That Thing,” shot on location at the Blue Nile, one of Frenchmen Street’s enduring locales.