Luke Winslow-King

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Luke Winslow-King
Luke Winslow-King at the Rudolstadt Festival in 2016
Background information
Birth name Luke Winslow-King Balzuweit
Born (1983-03-12) March 12, 1983 (age 35)
Cadillac, Michigan U.S.
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana U.S.
Genres Blues, Americana, folk jazz, country blues, jazz, ragtime
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2001–present
Labels Fox on a Hill Records
Bloodshot Records
Members Cassidy Holden
Benji Bohannon
Ben Polcer
Past members Esther Rose

Luke Winslow-King Balzuweit[1][2] (born March 12, 1983) is an American guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and lyricist based out of Cadillac, Michigan, who plays vintage blues and jazz music and is known for his slide guitar work.[3][4] He is a music traditionalist,[5] playing a mixture of "people's music" and improvisational jazz based in collective improvisation,[6] with influences from New Orleans, where he was based for 15 years, that includes jazz, Delta blues, ragtime, pre-war American folk,[7] with influences from diverse sources like Béla Bartók and Antonín Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12 (American String Quartet) and Woody Guthrie.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Winslow-King was born in Cadillac, Michigan.[9] His mother, Kathy Balzuweit (née King), is a painter and farmer and founded the soup kitchen called the Shepherd’s Table in Cadillac.[10] His father, Kurt Balzuweit was a musician and worked at a hospital.[11] Winslow-King grew up in the Baptist church.[12] On his maternal side, Winslow-King's family come from the Winslow descendants of the Mayflower.[8]

Winslow-King began playing guitar at a young age, and played the French horn in middle school.[13] He often played in church.[10] Starting at the age of 14, he performed with his band, Luke Winslow-King Blues Band, and did a weekly gig at McGuire’s Resort in Cadillac.[14][15]

In 2001, Winslow-King graduated from Interlochen Center for the Arts with a major in jazz guitar and where he also studied bebop jazz.[9][14][16]

In 2002, Winslow-King attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2003, he began attending the University of New Orleans, where he was in the music theory and composition program. While there he also studied classical music.[15] In the summer of 2003, Winslow-King spent the summer in the Czech Republic after he won an ambassador scholarship to study Czech music at Charles University in Prague.


During the fall of 2002 when he was 19 years old, after dropping out of college after a semester at Western Michigan University, Winslow-King went on a cross-country tour with musicians Seth Bernard and Daniel Kahn, playing Woody Guthrie songs in a show called "From California to the New York Island." While making a stop in New Orleans, the band's car and instruments were stolen after being parked on Ursulines Street in the Tremé district. The theft meant Winslow-King had to spend time in New Orleans. During the weeks he was there, when they got the van back, but no instruments, Winslow-King fell in love with the city, and in 2001 decided to permanently relocate to New Orleans.[15] He knew the soul singer John Boutté of the band ¡Cubanismo! during their stop at Mackinaw Island, and soon got a first-hand immersion into the local music scene, often busking on the street and playing with various bands and musicians[17] – like "Washboard Chaz" Leary, George Porter, Jr., Paul Sanchez's "Nine Lives" project, Roberto Luti, The Loose Marbles Jazz Band – in the city. He often played at local New Orleans clubs like Three Muses and DBA on Frenchmen Street in the 7th Ward.[16]

From 2004 to 2006, Winslow-King moved to New York City after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. He lived in Harlem and worked as a music therapist for people with developmental disability (blind, mentally disabled) at the Institute of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. He also taught music at the Lavelle School for the Blind, also in the Bronx.[18] While living in New York City, Winslow-King studied composition and worked with avant-garde composer "Blue" Gene Tyranny and played in Jack Hardy's well-known songwriter's circle.[14]

In 2006, Winslow-King co-founded the Michigan-based music label, Earthwork Music, with local Michigan musicians with whom he was friendly.[14] Winslow-King wrote many of the songs, a mix of classical string quartet music and songwriting, with his ex-girlfriend, the musician Ji Un Choi.[19]

In 2007, Winslow-King moved back to New Orleans and released his self-titled debut via Earthwork on his own imprint, Fox On A Hill.

His 2009 record, Old/New Baby, was recorded at Preservation Hall and was distributed by EMusic. American Songwriter named it one of 2009's Top 10 Record.[14] Winslow-King performed as the Luke Winslow-King Trio with Jason Jurzak playing sousaphone and Richie Levinson playing washboard.[20]

In 2012, Winslow-King signed with Chicago-based independent record label, Bloodshot Records.[21] At the time his band was a trio made up of Winslow-King on vocals and guitar, Esther Rose on vocals and washboard, and Cassidy Holden on upright base.[22]

In 2013, Winslow-King released his third record, The Coming Tide, on Bloodshot Records.[23][24]

In 2014, Winslow-King released Everlasting Arms on Bloodshot.[25][26]

In September 2016, Winslow-King released I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always on Bloodshot.[9][27] The record was influenced by his divorce and his move back to northern Michigan in August 2016 to be with his father, who was diagnosed with cancer.[10] The song "Esther Please" is about his ex-wife.[9][28] Contributors to the record were Roberto Luti on guitar, Brennan Andes on electric bass, Mike Lynch on keyboards, Benji Bohannon on drums. Colin DuPuis (The Black Keys) mixed the record,[29] which was partially recorded live while on tour in Livorno, Italy.[27]

In 2018, Winslow-King released his sixth record, which is called Blue Mesa, on Bloodshot. Blue Mesa was recorded in Lari, Italy, in Tuscany,[30] and is a departure from his prior record, more upbeat and broader in diversity of sound and topics.[31] Contributing to the recording were Ben Polcer on trumpet, Dominick Grillo on baritone sax, Matt Rhody on violin, and Chris Davis on drums.[32] Tracks “Chicken Dinner” and “You Got Mine” were co-written with one of his New Orleans-based mentors, “Washboard” Lissa Driscoll, who died in 2017 of throat cancer.[33][34] "Farewell Blues" is in homage to his father, who died in 2017.[10] The record has received positive reviews.[35]

His current band is made up of Roberto Luti on slide guitar, Christian Carpenter on bass guitar, Mike Lynch (Bob Seger, Larry McCray) on organ, and Chris Davis (King James and the Special Men) on drums.[30]

Other work[edit]

In 1993, Winslow-King and his sister were extras in the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day.[27]

Winslow-King has worked as a composer for both theater and film. Winslow-King wrote the music that ran in the credits of the March 2014 extended pilot episode of NCIS: New Orleans. He also appeared in the episode.[10]

His song, "Swing That Thing," from 2014 his record Everlasting Arms was directed by the comedian Kyle Newacheck from Workaholics.[36] It was filmed in New Orleans at the Balcony Room at Blue Nile.[37]

Personal life[edit]

From 2013 to 2015, Winslow-King was married to singer-songwriter Esther Rose.[38] They performed together over a period of six years.[39][40] She also had a fashion line at the store Bon Castor in New Orleans and influenced the Winslow-Kings' stage outfits.[41][42] The couple lived in Arabi, St. Bernard Parish Louisiana.[43] Winslow-King was often known for wearing vintage clothes on stage.[44]

In November 2014, Winslow was arrested and incarcerated for three weeks in northern Michigan for the possession of a small amount of marijuana. He spent that time almost entirely in solitary confinement due to a serious nut allergy.[9]

In 2017, Winslow-King relocated to his home town of Cadillac, Michigan, after living in New Orleans for over 15 years.[30][45]



  • 2008: Luke Winslow King (Fox on a Hill Records)
  • 2009: Old/New Baby (Fox on a Hill Records)
  • 2013: The Coming Tide (Bloodshot Records) – re-release
  • 2014: Everlasting Arms (Bloodshot Records)
  • 2016: I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always (Bloodshot Records)
  • 2018: Blue Mesa (Bloodshot Records)

7 inch[edit]

  • 2011: You Hear Me Talkin' To Ya (Fox On A Hill, Earthwork Music)


  • 2008: Ghost Glacier by Breathe Owl Breathe (Earthwork Music)
  • 2012: Lucky Devil by Meschiya Lake And The Little Big Horns (Continental Record Services)[46]
  • 2013: Vari-colored Songs (A Tribute To Langston Hughes) by Leyla McCalla (Music Maker Relief Foundation)



  1. ^ "Luke Winslow-King Balzuweit, United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. 3 November 2004.
  2. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Balzuweit, Luke Winslow King". BMI.
  3. ^ Slenske, Michael (24 April 2013). "Now Listening: Luke Winslow-King". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Mah, Linda S. (11 December 2014). "Luke Winslow-King coming to Bell's with music that represents New Orleans, celebrates his Michigan roots". Michigan Live.
  5. ^ American Songwriter (27 November 2012). "Luke Winslow-King Signs With Bloodshot Records". American Songwriter.
  6. ^ Cohn, Rosalie (1 April 2010). "Luke Winslow-King: French Quarter Fest Focus". Offbeat. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  7. ^ Neff, Joseph (8 October 2014). "Graded on a Curve: Luke Winslow-King, Everlasting Arms". The Vinyl District.
  8. ^ a b Thompkins, Gwen (20 November 2014). "Luke Winslow-King's Music Is So Good You'll Want To Slap The Guitar Player". New Orleans Public Radio WWNO.
  9. ^ a b c d e Milano, Brett (29 August 2016). "Luke Winslow-King: No More Crying Today". OffBeat Magazine.
  10. ^ a b c d e Suhs, Mardi (11 April 2018). "Winslow-King moves back to his roots". Cadillac News.
  11. ^ "Obituaries: Kurt A. Balzuweit, October 06, 1951 - September 15, 2017". Peterson Funeral Home. 15 September 2017.
  12. ^ Cohn, Gretta (16 April 2013). "Check Ahead: Luke Winslow-King, 'The Coming Tide'". WNYC Soundcheck.
  13. ^ Suhs, Mardi (6 November 2014). "Master class with musician Luke Winslow-King". Cadillac News.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Luke Winslow-King". Earthwork Music. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Sinkevics, John (12 February 2015). "New Orleans' Luke Winslow King thrilled to return to native Michigan for shows". The Holland Sentinel.
  16. ^ a b Houlihan, Mary (18 February 2015). "New Orleans the heart and soul of Luke Winslow-King's music, life". Chicago Sun-Times.
  17. ^ Hamlin, Andrew (1 July 2013). "My Music: Luke Winslow-King". OffBeat Magazine.
  18. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Luke Winslow-King Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  19. ^ Mateer, Chris (12 July 2013). "Conversations with... Luke Winslow-King". The Bluegrass Situation.
  20. ^ Broddle, Jeff (12 March 2009). "Trio brings New Orleans sound to Cadillac". Cadillac News.
  21. ^ "Luke Winslow-King Signs With Bloodshot Records". American Songwriter. 27 November 2012.
  22. ^ "Bloodshot signs Luke Winslow-King!". Bloodshot Records. 26 November 2012.
  23. ^ Kunian, David (1 October 2014). "Luke Winslow-King, Everlasting Arms (Album Review)". OffBeat Magazine.
  24. ^ Britt, Grant (28 March 2013). "CD Review - Luke Winslow-King "The Coming Tide"". No Depression.
  25. ^ Maloney, Stephen (9 December 2014). "Luke Winslow-King Brings Respect to Booty Shaking Blues". OffBeat Magazine.
  26. ^ Yost, Greg (2014). "Luke Winslow-King - Everlasting Arms". Country Standard Time.
  27. ^ a b c Armstrong, Chuck (22 August 2016). "Interview: Luke Winslow-King Finds Closure on New Record". The Boot.
  28. ^ Rawls, Alex (30 September 2016). "Luke Winslow-King Unveils His "Troubles"". My Spilt Milk.
  29. ^ Spera, Keith (29 September 2016). "New Orleans' Luke Winslow-King makes beautiful music out of a broken marriage on new CD". The Advocate.
  30. ^ a b c Gorondi, Pablo (9 May 2018). "Review: Luke Winslow-King's 'Blue Mesa' simple and effective". The Washington Post. Associated Press.
  31. ^ Gorondi, Pablo (9 May 2018). "Review: Luke Winslow-King's 'Blue Mesa' simple and effective". AP News.
  32. ^ Weddle, Christopher (23 April 2018). "Luke Winslow-King, Blue Mesa (Bloodshot Records)". OffBeat Magazine.
  33. ^ Hodge, Will (10 May 2018). "Interview with Luke Winslow-King". NoiseTrade.
  34. ^ Graff, Gary (17 April 2018). "Luke Winslow-King Premieres 'Chicken Dinner,' Co-Written With Late Collaborator Lissa Driscoll". Billboard.
  35. ^ Zimmerman, Lee (10 May 2018). "Luke Winslow-King Taps A Bluesman Template for 'Blue Mesa' (Album Review)". Glide Magazine.
  36. ^ Bacle, Ariana (9 October 2014). "'Workaholics' director captures pure joy in Luke Winslow-King video". Entertainment Weekly.
  37. ^ Thoren, Thomas (15 September 2014). "What's new with Luke Winslow-King: interview". Best of New Orleans.
  38. ^ Mallor, Robin (9 January 2014). "Slippin' out between Storms". Three Roods Farm.
  39. ^ a b Inman, Davis (3 January 2011). "Writer of The Week: Luke Winslow-King". American Songwriter.
  40. ^ Maloney, Stephen (9 December 2014). "Luke Winslow-King Brings Respect to the Booty Shaking Blues". Offbeat.
  41. ^ Laborde, Lauren (October 2014). "Luke Winslow-King: Musician on a journey". New Orleans Magazine.
  42. ^ Wilkinson, Missy (9 November 2014). "Style Profile: Luke Winslow-King". Best of New Orleans.
  43. ^ Waddington, Chris (16 December 2014). "Luke Winslow King and wife Esther Rose sing 'Chanukah, O Chanukah': New Orleans music videos". The Times-Picayune.
  44. ^ Walker, Kevinisha (23 May 2017). "See singer-songwriter Luke Winslow-King's cool vintage style". The Times-Picayune.
  45. ^ Boissoneau, Ross (17 August 2017). "Cadillac Native Luke Winslow-King Returns, Plays Music Locally". Traverse.
  46. ^ Young, Zachary (1 August 2010). "Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Lucky Devil (Independent) - OffBeat Magazine". OffBeat Magazine.
  47. ^ "2010 Best of the Beat Awards Nominees - OffBeat Magazine". OffBeat Magazine. 16 December 2010.
  48. ^ "Best of the Beat 2011 Nominees - OffBeat Magazine". OffBeat Magazine. 8 December 2011.
  49. ^ "Best of the Beat Awards 2012 Nominees". OffBeat Magazine. 1 January 2013.
  50. ^ Offbeat Staff (29 December 2014). "OffBeat Magazine's Best of the Beat Awards 2014". Offbeat.
  51. ^ a b "Luke Winslow-King: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  52. ^ Coviello, Will (27 April 2015). "2015 Big Easy Music Awards nominations announced". Gambit.
  53. ^ Coviello, Will (22 May 2015). "2015 Big Easy Music Awards announced". Gambit.
  54. ^ a b c "The 2016 Best of the Beat Music Awards Nominees". OffBeat Magazine. 14 December 2016.

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