RIP Jesse Winchester

Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester passed away today at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 69-year-old artist had been suffering from esophageal cancer. Winchester, who had moved to Canada in 1967 in protest of the Vietnam War, had some chart success with his own recordings of his folk-country-blues sound. While he may not be remembered by a large number of the population, he is well-respected and admired by a number of talented artists. And many of them covered his songs. If you are not familiar with his work, check out these videos.

Here is Winchester with a moving performance of his song “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” on season two (2009-2010) of Elvis Costello’s Spectacle show. That’s Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, and Ron Sexsmith on stage with Costello and Winchester. You can see near the end around the 3:12 mark where Case has tears in her eyes from Winchester’s touching song. Wow.

Here is a young Winchester in 1977, singing with Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris.

Finally, here is one of my favorite covers of a Jesse Winchester song. In this video, Buddy Miller sings Winchester’s “A Showman’s Life,” which appeared on Miller’s 2002 album Midnight and Lonesome. Winchester’s “A Showman’s Life” has been covered in excellent versions by the likes of George Strait and Gary Allan. But check out Miller’s version.

Thanks for the music Mr. Winchester. RIP.

What is your favorite Jesse Winchester song? Leave your two cents in the comments

  • The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris
  • Taxi Driver Music: “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”
  • Great Song, Bad Name: Hot Burrito #1
  • Buddy Miller’s Majestic Silver Strings (CD review)
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers Song That Includes a Tribute to Bobby Kennedy
  • Emmylou Harris Covers Steve Earle’s “The Pilgrim”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)