Luc and the LovingtonsFeel the Warmth (self-released)When Winthrop, Wash., resident Luc Reynaud went to the storm-battered Gulf Coast in 2005, he expected to volunteer, not start an album. But four years later, the effects of that trip are draped all over his band’s latest LP, Feel the Warmth. There’s a definite “Kumbaya” appeal mixed into the disc’s 13 songs (even the album’s name comes across like a giant hug), although that’s not a bad thing. Beneath all that, Reynaud and crew are delicately telling stories of those lands far away. On “Diembereng,” recorded in Senegal in 2007, the kora, djembe, and talking drum take the forefront. Senegalese/Seattleite Thione Diop is also featured on the song, as Reynaud sings about the joys of life in Africa—a sharp contrast to what many of us hear on the news. Perhaps the disc’s best tune, “Freedom Song,” was recorded two years earlier at a refuge for Hurricane Katrina victims in Baton Rouge, La. As Reynaud’s playful guitar strumming is matched with the harmonizing of children from the shelter, the healing power of music practically jumps through the speakers. The rest of the album was recorded in Seattle. Other songs, like album opener “I’m Awake,” featuring children from a Madrona preschool, and “I Had a Dream,” are more sing-along, and similarly warming to the soul. Ultimately, if what John Mayer would sound like in the world-music arena rather than in the pop realm sounds good to you, Feel the Warmth should do you some good.  – Jonathan Cunningham, Seattle Weekly