Jesse Winchester is described on the Gravity Lounge’s website as the “music world’s most prominent Vietnam War draft-evader.” Winchester moved to Montreal in the late 60’s to protest the war, which prevented him from touring to support his music. But he continued writing and releasing music, and now he’s appearing at the Gravity Lounge tonight (December 15).
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A new resident of the area, Winchester joined Anne Williams on the December 15th edition of WNRN’s Acoustic Sunrise. The two talk about his career and the future of the record industry.
Check out all of WNRN’s artist interviews on their YouTube page.
8 Replies to “Songwriter and musician Jesse Winchester at the Gravity Lounge tonight”
Jesse is brilliant. Shame about the interviewer !
Mr. Winchester says he has never been too popular. I can tell you he is loved in our house. My seventeen year old son just returned “Gentleman of Leisure,” which I had lent him, but it was worn out.
Anne Williams tried her hardest to keep up, but seemed to miss the irony dripping from Jesse’s words, such as his allusion to performing in coffee houses where people had long hair and read poetry, and they expected you to write your own songs!
Jesse comes across as genuine, humble, matter of fact about his career, and philosophical about the fact that he “is not popular.” One of my frustrations is that “Humour Me”, an album released in 1989, did not go straight to platinum. It makes you think, clarifies things going on in the world, and yes, inspires you. With just a little air play, “it could-a been a contenda.”
For over 30 years I have deeply admired Jesse Winchester and loved his songs, his music, his singing, and his guitar playing. I saw him on his triumphant return to the States tour at U Hall in C’ville in ’76, I guess, doing the Rhumba, Baby. I saw him 20 years later, I guess, at Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington. Now I find out he’s moved to Charlottesville, by God, and played at the Gravity Lounge 2 years ago, 38 miles away– AND I MISSED IT COMPLETELY! Cruel fate.
I guess Anne Williams didn’t really know who she was talking to, btw, in her defense…
I have known of Jesse Winchester’s songs for many years but have only just discovered him as a person on a MusicFog YouTube interview with Jessie Scott. I have now ordered two albums by him ‘ Humour Me ‘ and ‘ Live From Mountain Stage ‘and I look forward to hearing his original versions of his songs. My favourite composition by him is ‘ My Songbird ‘ which Emmylou Harris has done a great version of. I have a lot of catching up to do but these two albums are a start of course. I don’t feel certain people should call him a draft-dodging coward as he went with his convictions that the war in Vietnam was wrong and he wanted no part of it. I feel Phil Ochs would have been very prioud of him and his stance against conflict and killing of other human beings.
To add a further comment to my previous one and refer to the Charlottesville,Virginia interview with Anne Williams that I have just heard. I feel Anne should have done a bit more preparation for her interview with him as she seemed a bit tongue-tied and hesitant at times and wasn’t really responding to comments that Jesse made. I find him a very humble, modest person who admires other peoples versions of his songs and seems grateful to them for choosing his songs.Just a shame he didn’t name check Emmylou Harris and her excellent version of ‘ My Songbird ‘. I would very much like to see him here in the UK but at least I can watch a few videos on YouTube . I missed out on him when he toured the UK and Europe during his days of forced absence from the USA. I’ve read so many singers sing his praises as a songwriter and caring human being that I’m so glad I have now got to know him other than as a songwriter.
I played “Yankee Lady” for Joan Frydenlund at her Lakeside CA apartment in February 1973. Something called to us and we were southward bound that summer. We split up in Palenque, but miraculously reunited in Merida. We completed the trip together, got married and started a business together in 1976. Jesse Keller was born in 1978.
We’ve gone out of our way to see Jesse W perform, flying from California to Crested Butte CO on one occasion. To Boulder CO on another. We’ve seen him twice here in San Diego. We’re grateful for his providing the sound track for our life. Listening to “Far Side Bank of Jordan” driving up I-5 in May 2009, we cried for joy.
Jessie Winchester is a songwriter’s songwriter, with a nuance and richness of lyric and melody. (His song, “Little Glass of Wine” can be sung beautifully as a jazz tune.) Jesse’s writing is both poetry and remarkably sensitive storytelling. His refrains appear unexpectedly, their connection to the song resonant with power and charm, economy of phrasing, and ripe with intimation of deeper truths.
Perhaps my appreciation comes in part from my northern Mississippi (Oxford) birth, my own songwriter’s background, and my age (almost 61). Nonetheless, he’s a unique and moving talent.
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