Jesse Winchester, a popular singer and prolific songwriter, died at his home in Charlottesville, Va., Friday morning (April 11), at age 69 following a battle with cancer. His music blended folk, country and blues and he found his greatest success as an artist in the folk music genre.
Jesse’s songs were covered by a variety of artists from several fields over the years. One of his most famous songs, “A Showman’s Life,” has been recorded by George Strait, Gary Allan and other artists. Jesse also wrote the last major hit for the Everly Brothers, “Bowling Green.” Michael Martin Murphey enjoyed a Top 5 country hit in 1986 with Jesse’s song, “I’m Gonna Miss You, Girl.”
Jesse was born in Shreveport, La., but lived in Canada for a time when he moved to that country in protest of the Vietnam War. He returned to the U.S. after President Jimmy Carter granted pardons to those who had left the country to avoid the draft.
Last year, artists such as James Taylor, Vince Gill and Jimmy Buffett participated in a tribute album of Jesse’s songs titled Quiet About It. Jesse had completed an album of his own, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble, which is slated to be released later this year.