Posted by themusicsover on April 11, 2014
James “Jesse” Winchester
May 17, 1944 – April 11, 2014
Jesse Winchester was an American singer-songwriter who made his biggest mark on popular music during the early ’70s. Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Winchester moved to Montreal in 1967 in order to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. It was while in Canada that he launched his career in music thanks to early encouragement and support from the Band’s Robbie Robertson. Winchester released his debut self-titled album in 1970 and continued to record acclaimed albums on and off over the next 40 years. Since he couldn’t tour the U.S. as a draft resister during the peak years of his output, Winchester became better known as a songwriter than a live performer and recording artist. The long list of those who recorded his songs includes Elvis Costello, George Strait, Jimmy Buffet, Joan Baez, the Everly Brothers, and Wynona Judd. In 1976, President Jimmy Carter pardoned many so-called draft dodgers, so Winchester was allowed back into the US. His first show back on US soil was in April of 1977, a performance that prompted Rolling Stone magazine to declare him “the Greatest Voice of the Decade.” He permanently relocated back to America in 2002 and continued to record and tour throughout the remainder of his life. Jesse Winchester died of cancer on April 11, 2014. He was 69.
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