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Great Southern/Canadian Songwriter Jesse Winchester Passes

winchesterBesides being the author of two of the most moving Mississippi-related songs ever known (“Biloxi” and “Mississippi, You’re On My Mind”), Jesse Winchester left an indelible mark on many of music’s greats. He passed away Friday, April 11, after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was living in Virginia at the time.
Born and raised in the South, including north Mississippi and Memphis, Winchester evaded the draft in the 1960s and found himself living in Montreal, Quebec, eventually becoming a Canadian citizen. There, he developed his songwriting and performing and was discovered by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, who produced Winchester’s first album. The quick points of his life and career in a nutshell include that he put out several albums and had his songs covered by artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, George Strait, Gary Allan, Patti Page, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Anne Murray, Reba McEntire, The Everly Brothers, Wynona Judd, The Weather Girls, New Grass Revival, Fairport Convention, Tim Hardin, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Nicolette Larsen, Ted Hawkins, Ian Matthews, Colleen Peterson, Tom Rush, Brewer & Shipley, Raffi, Skydiggers and Wilson Pickett.
Here is Winchester not long ago, performing “Mississippi, You’re On My Mind.”

Here’s his own version of “Biloxi.”

And the touching “Sham-a-Lama-Ding-Dong:”

The evening of the day Winchester died, by coincidence, George McConnell and Daniel Karlish performed “Mississippi, You’re On My Mind” on the Oxford courthouse lawn. It’s a song they usually play at every show.
— Tad Wilkes, tad.wilkes@hottytoddy.com

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