If These Walls Could Talk - CD
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Luke Winslow-King has always maintained a strong sense of place. Throughout his virtuosic, prodigious career, Winslow-King’s music and identity have been bound with places like New Orleans and Northern Michigan. His earliest records sonically captured the Crescent City with pick-slap playing, jazz, and old-time influences; his more recent works seemed to reflect the sounds of both the North’s urban blues and folk-filled farmland.
His newest release, If These Walls Could Talk, was born out of yet another place — a move to Spain for a hard-fought love. Due out May 6, 2022 via Memphis-based Ghost River Records, If These Walls Could Talk is a loose, vibrant record that’s his most defiant to date.
Recorded in January 2020 at Memphis Magnetic Recording Co., Winslow-King united long-time friends and performers from Italy, New York, Michigan, and New Orleans. The band — which features Italian blues guitar maestro Roberto Luti — tracked live with producer Dominic Davis (Jack White, North Mississippi Allstars, Greensky Bluegrass), and their familiarity shines throughout the record. Plus, Memphis royalty including Reverend Charles Hodges (Al Green) and The Sensational Barnes Brothers share their talents on Hammond organ and backing vocals, respectively, adding extra musical muscle.
“There's a little bit of that Memphis soul feel mixed in there — somewhere between Michigan and New Orleans, where I've been based all these years,” says Winslow-King. “We didn't know what Memphis would do to the record when we went there, but it was really great to see it come alive in that way and have that collaboration with some heroes from the city there.”
Winslow-King sings of specific locales throughout If These Walls Could Talk. “Winds of Aragón” looks ahead, honoring his new home in the north of Spain, while lead single “Lissa’s Song” — an acoustic, chugging ode to the late, legendary New Orleans street musician Lissa Driscoll — looks back on New Orleans. Luti’s slide guitar work adds a haunting element to Winslow-King’s whispering comforts: “You’re in every song now / you’re in everything I do / and when I feel I’m sinking / I will reach for you.” He adds, “It’s a song that me and Roberto have been working toward during our entire career.”
Other songs seem to capture a more metaphoric sense of belonging, purpose, or place. Single “Slow Sunday June” is a bouncy love song for life’s smallest moments of bliss, which he describes as “when light falls across the room, when the doves sing, when the bells toll, when waves reflect the moon.” “Love At First Sight” seems to waltz and saunter around that same room, celebrating such a feeling. And the earnest title track serves as the record’s home. “It's the heart of the theme for the album, exploring that idea of the personification of architecture,” says Winslow-King.
Taken together, If These Walls Could Talk comprises a collection of musical vignettes, windows into rooms of places he’s lived and where others have passed on. “The album celebrates the life of the living and of the departed at the same time, getting into this idea of what lasts of a person when they’ve gone away — this idea that a person can exist in a place and when you leave, something is left behind because of what transpired between the walls,” Winslow-King muses. “These things that remain of people just keep resonating through these songs. That's what ties it all together.”
- Slow Sunday June
- Jessie's Love Song
- Don't Tell Me I Don't Love You
- Lissa's Song
- Watch Me Change
- Winds of Aragón
- Have a Ball
- Love At First Sight
- Leaves Turn Brown