Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Songwriter Jesse Winchester dies at age 69

Jesse Winchester, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Montreal after dodging the Vietnam War and went on to write songs covered by the likes of Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez has died of cancer. He was 69.


advertising

TORONTO —

Jesse Winchester, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Montreal after dodging the Vietnam War and went on to write songs covered by the likes of Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez has died of cancer. He was 69.

His death was announced on his official Facebook page Friday.

"Friends, our sweet Jesse died peacefully in his sleep this morning," the update reads. "Bless his loving heart."

Winchester was born in Louisiana and raised around the U.S. South, but he didn't begin his music career in earnest until moving to Quebec in 1967. There, he began performing solo in coffee houses around Montreal and the Canadian East Coast.

Winchester was a protege of the Band's Robbie Robertson, who produced and played guitar on Winchester's self-titled debut album and brought Band-mate Levon Helm along to play drums and mandolin.

Winchester's second album, 1972's "Third Down, 110 to Go" featured tracks produced by Todd Rundgren. He continued to release material at a steady clip until 1981's "Talk Memphis," after which he took a seven-year break from recording. That album, however, contained Winchester's biggest U.S. hit, "Say What."

Although large-scale mainstream success eluded Winchester, his songs were covered by an array of musicians including Elvis Costello, Anne Murray, Wynona Judd, Emmylou Harris, the Everly Brothers, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez.

Some of his best known songs include "Yankee Lady," ''Biloxi," ''The Brand New Tennessee Waltz" and "Mississippi, You're On My Mind."

After living in Canada for decades, Winchester moved back to the U.S. early last decade. He died at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Winchester was nominated for three Juno Awards, including country male vocalist of the year in 1990 and, most recently, best roots and traditional album for "Gentleman of Leisure" in 2000.

In September 2012, artists including James Taylor, Lucinda Williams, Vince Gill and Jimmy Buffett performed covers of Winchester's tunes for a tribute album called "Quiet About It."

Winchester reportedly recorded a final album called "A Reasonable Amount of Trouble," due out this summer.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

The power of good manners


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►