Jesse Winchester

Singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester passed away today from cancer (dammit!), aged 69. He had been gravely ill for some time, and earlier this week there were premature reports of his passing. There will be lots of tributes from other singer/songwriters and folkies, remembering his four-decade career.

We didn’t hear his recordings much on the radio, but other performers treated him well. My own experiences include two songs that Emmylou Harris covered, “Defying Gravity” and “My Songbird” (from Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town), Jimmy Buffet’s version of “Biloxi” (from Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes), and one or two others. Around the time I was becoming aware of these, Jesse had broken through on the radio locally with his “Wintry Feeling,” a song that I always thought had great atmosphere to it. AllMusic.com tells me he had other radio hits, but I didn’t hear them — kind of unusual for me, given his connection to both Canada and the U.S. and my proximity to radio from both countries. Another brilliant song of his that came my way later was “Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” which I’ve heard recorded by several performers including Lyle Lovett.

Next time I do an open mic (who knows when that’ll be), I’ll have to try to work in “Defying Gravity,” the only song of his I ever performed myself. I always liked its quirkyness as well as its sincerity.

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About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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3 Responses to Jesse Winchester

  1. Very nice, thanks for posting this Charlie.

  2. quickcasey says:

    The only song that got any airplay in the Chicago market was Black Dog. I did eventually buy the album, but it took years to find it.

  3. changeling72 says:

    I will have to see if I can find some of his work and give it a listen.

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