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Jesse Winchester


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Bossier City LA, United States (1966 – 2014)

Jesse Winchester was the stage name of musician James Ridout Winchester (born 17 May 1944 in Bossier City, Louisiana; died 11 April 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia). His best-known songs include “Yankee Lady”, “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz”, “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind”, and “Biloxi”; his song “Step by Step” was used in the final episode of HBO’s ‘The Wire’s’ first season. Many notable artists recorded his songs, including Patti Page, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Anne Murray, Reba McEntire, The Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris. In 2007 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Winchester was born in Bossier City, Louisiana, his father being stationed at Barksdale Field. He was raised both in the country (on farms owned by his parents) and in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1966. After touring Germany and upon receiving his draft notice in 1967, Winchester relocated to Montreal, Quebec. He became a Canadian citizen in 1973, and married his first wife Leslie. After many years in Montreal and after his divorce, he established his personal studio at Saint Georges de Beauce, Quebec, and resided there for some years before moving back to Memphis in 2002. Married to his wife Cindy, he lately resided in Charlottesville, Virginia. Winchester had three children from his first marriage, Alice Evangeline, James Ridout and Marcus Lee.


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  • wilburfan48

    New album is terrific! Thanks for this final gift.

    27 Sep 2014 Reply
  • WharfRatJustin

    Bon voyage, mate!

    11 Jul 2014 Reply
  • wilburfan48

    Thanks for being an important part of the sound track of my life for the last 45 years. You will be missed.

    15 Apr 2014 Reply
  • KeithJones


    13 Apr 2014 Reply
  • MinMusikJustNu


    7 Apr 2014 Reply
  • veggiemama1

    He;s wonderful. His new stuff is equally as amazing as he was early on in the seventies. Deep and strong, an abiding spirit.

    22 Aug 2012 Reply
  • mattcalico

    A legend. Recover!

    22 Sep 2011 Reply
  • Richo92

    lol, congrats to The Wire for giving this poor bastard some attention.

    2 Feb 2010 Reply
  • osmystatocny

    yakubuefc : mate, me too. awesome song! I'm surprised that he isn't that popular as I expectedccording this song...too bad, he's damn good

    11 Jan 2009 Reply
  • gw924bigfan

    He has never received the acclaim that he deserves, and the ASCAP award should have helped to ease the pain, but listening to him talk about his own career, he says, "I'm not popular", and "I've never made any money from my records (and CDs I assume)". Yet if you listen to a little-mentioned CD, "Humor Me," you'll hear the paradox of love, the wonder of Christmas, the audacity of the me-first generation, and the pain of a love grown cold. And sometimes I think I'm only the second person to hear this work! C'mon some someone - tell me you know this album!

    30 Dec 2008 Reply
  • kreeningsons has like 14 free* albums by him, fyi (*gotta download player, DRM)

    27 Dec 2008 Reply
  • Dereks

    Yes, step by step is awesome!!! Also discovered through the wire.

    28 Sep 2008 Reply
  • yakubuefc

    step by step was on the tv show the wire, that's where i heard it. superb song.

    14 Jul 2008 Reply
  • gxsterrestrial

    I heard Step by Step on a Radio Station in Moulton Alabama. And now, I can;t get enough of Mr. Winchester.

    7 Mar 2008 Reply
  • gxsterrestrial

    I heard Step by Step on a Radio Station in Moulton Alabama. And now, I can;t get enough of Mr. Winchester.

    7 Mar 2008 Reply
  • gxsterrestrial

    I heard Step by Step on a Moulton, Alabama radio station. They never intro'ed the song, and it took weeks of searchining untill I found out it was Jesse Winchester. And what a find! An artist with morals! Thank you for being you, Jesse. Your music and life stoey strike me as just the way we should all be. What a beautiful free world it would be!

    7 Mar 2008 Reply

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