Luke Woltanski is a Michigan born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, piano, mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, and harmonica: often two at a time! The 21-year-old Woltanski has published two studio albums, three solo albums (from his younger days), and two studio singles. The single The Ballad of Sugar and Jr. was featured in Big City Rhythm and Blues Magazine’s “Next Wave” issue and was featured on the magazine’s sampler #23. He has played for the Mt. Mancelona Winter Beer and Music Festival, for the Glen Arbor Film Festival, for the Plainwell Days Music Festival, and for UpNorth TV, along with many other wineries, galleries, coffee shops, and private venues around Michigan.
Luke got his first guitar when he was 13 years old but didn’t start playing it until he was 14. Within a year he had taught himself to play and to sing with it. Luke was classically trained vocally and when he was fifteen, he toured with the Kalamazoo Children’s Choir in Italy for ten days. Shortly afterward in 2014, he released his first solo album, Prairiefire which he had recorded on a small Boss BR-900CD. In 2015, another solo album The Fog Dance, in 2016 Constellation; in 2017 his first studio album Solos and Stories, and his two singles in 2018: The Ballad of Sugar and Jr. and O Come O Come Emmanuel. Currently he is working on finishing two more projects. During this time, he has been studying Biology at Hillsdale College while serving as a Resident Advisor, and as a Teachers Assistant for Biology and Chemistry classes at the college. He is currently a Senior.
Music was an integral part of Luke's life from a very young age, even from his years as a toddler. He would have to be put to sleep at night by none other than Bruce Springsteen. Very peculiar, but it worked, and Luke's musical idols have certainly grown since then. He uses guitar styles similar to the likes of Michael Hedges and Gordon Lightfoot, and plays piano with inspiration from Bruce Hornsby and Billy Joel. His harmonica playing pulls from traditional blues as well as folk playing, and his Native American flute from the likes of Robert Mirabal.
His style of writing is very peculiar. "I don't think that writing a song is there to just portray emotion - although that is important - but I like songs that take you on a journey, that tell a story. If you can't be taken from one place to another, then the journey never happened, and in my eyes the song didn't truly happen either. Or something like that... To those who are reading this (hey, you!) who ever want to write lyrics, I think you should keep one thing in mind: that no two songs are ever the same. The music has to be different between the two if you want to keep your music interesting, but the lyrics are another animal entirely. You can write love songs, but then you'll have to tell another story at some point, because there's so much more to life than just one thing. You don't have to make the words rhyme, and you don't have to be completely literal with everything you say. What you do have to do is bring your audience close, and then take them on a journey. One's which you yourself have been on are always great, because the audience can often hear your honesty, but don't be afraid to mix it up. Music is a creature on it's own that changes and evolves, your lyricism should be the same."
Luke has been praised as “an excellent musician, singer and storyteller” by the Glen Arbor Arts Association. He has been called an “intelligent musician” and an “invested storyteller” by Big City Rhythm and Blues and has contributed eight stories to the magazine. His single The Ballad of Sugar and Jr. was runner up for the magazine’s 2018 Coolest Blues Song of the year.
If you have a Spotify account, give a listen to some of Luke's music using the radio icon above the gallery below, or look him up anywhere music is streamed or sold online.