Jesse Winchester, one of the sweetest voices in folk music, has died at the age of 69, reports The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Winchester Suffered From Cancer
He had been battling cancer. He died at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 11.
2. His Death Was Announced Prematurely the Day Before
His death was confirmed by his wife, Cindy. In the days leading up to his death, his booking agent, Keith Case, had to refute media rumors that he had passed away. One of those premature reports was written by Janis Ian, a fellow singer, who wrote:
RIP Jesse Winchester. As underrated a singer as Chet Baker. As underrated a guitarist as Willie Nelson. A man who held the audience in the palm of his hand without moving an inch. One of the best songwriters on earth.
3. Winchester Was a Folk Music Hit Machine
His most famous compositions include, “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind” and “Biloxi.”
4. Bob Dylan Was a Fan
Bob Dylan once said about Winchester “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” During his career, his songs were covered by the Everly Brothers, Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffett, Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello.
5. He Moved to Canada to Avoid the Draft in 1969
In 1969, when Winchester received his draft notice, the Louisiana native decamped to Montreal. In 1976, President Jimmy Carter announced an amnesty for draft dodgers. The amnesty however excluded those who had become citizens of other countries. At this stage, Winchester was a Canadian. Thanks for some negotiating by Winchester’s management, the folk singer was eventually offered the amnesty. He didn’t return to live in the U.S. until 2002.