"It's really special because of that," Winslow-King, who's dedicated the album to Driscoll, tells Billboard. "She was one of my first influences when I moved to New Orleans. She was not only a great blues singer but had a knack for finding great songs and knowing stories about people. She had the idea for the first two verses, I wrote the other verses and chorus and the music and we put the song together. It's just a light-hearted song about walking down the street, seeing a girl you like, talking to your friends about it. This song has a little bit of her swagger in it, so I'm happy we're putting it out there."
Blue Mesa comes at a transitional time for Winslow-King. After more than 16 years living in New Orleans he's returned to his native Cadillac, Mich. "I was just looking for a change," he explains. "I'd been in New Orleans a long time. I wanted to focus more on my family, nature, getting back in touch with some of my old friends. I really enjoy trout fishing and cross-country skiing. I'm grateful for the experiences I had in New Orleans over the years. I'll always go back there to see friends and work. I'm not ruling out living there again, but right now I'm back home and loving it."
Winslow-King is hardly land-locked the middle of Michigan, however. He recorded Blue Mesa in the Tuscan village of Lari, Italy, where guitarist Luti resides. "It was a really cool experience," Winslow-King remembers. "We had our run of the whole town. There was great food, beautiful views out the window of this mountain village. We did almost everything live in the studio, 10 tracks in two days, just trying to capture the tunes in the freshest, most sincere and honest deliver we could come up with."
Blue Mesa also finds Winslow-King in good spirits after its predecessor, 2016's I'm Glad Trouble Don't Last Always, ruminated on the breakup of his marriage. "This one is a little more broad than my last album," says Winslow-King, who hits the road to promote Blue Mesa during May. "That one was all about one topic; This one just has a little bit more fresh air in it, a little more of a relaxed approach. I was just frankly tired of singing about the same topic and wanted to just have a little more diversity and open things back up a little more."