So the other night I ordered my tickets to go to see Jesse Wnchester at The Tin Angel here in Philly. I’ve been a fan of Jesse’s music since my wife introduced his music to me in the early 70’s. “Yankee Lady” was the first song see loved. Through the years she hasn’t listened to Jesse as much as I have, but I think we’re both going to love the show! So to get ready tonight I’ve been listening to a block of Jesse’s music. Right now “Mississippi, You’re On My Mind” probably my all time favorite song of Jesse’s and one that I think captures a “sense of place” better than almost any song, is on!! In the block I listened to songs from: Gentleman of Leisure: “Club Manhatten”, and “Freewheeler”, and “No Pride at All”, Learn to Love It “Pharoah’s Army” and “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind” Humour Me: “They Just Can’t Help Themselves”, Sweet Loving Daddy” and from his latest album Love Filling Station Jesse’s great cover of Sam Cooke’s “Stand By Man”, “Wear Me Out”, and “Eulalie”. What I’ve discovered is that I’ve never met a Jesse song I didn’t like, I just like some songs more than others!
Another artist I love and consider maybe the overall best songwriter storyteller around Tom Russell wrote a post at the beginning of this year on his blog Tom Russell: Notes from the Borderland titled The Lion In Winter. This is what he said about Jesse:
last week, my friend Alec delivered a link to a video of Jesse Winchester singing a song on Elvis Costello’s TV show. It’s a heartfelt saga of teenage love, rendered by a true master; with sincerity and quiet passion. We tend to forget about Jesse, but there he was. Telling me again why in hell we’re in this game. Cutting to the heart of the matter. Right near the end of the song the camera slides over to Neko Case; sitting next to Jesse on stage –and a tear rolls down her cheek. Do I have have to say more? That’s it. That’s why we’re here. In this age when we’re drowning in the worthless bilge water of tired celebrity – like who cares if Willie Nelson duets with Norah Jones, or Bono sings with Springsteen? It’s a ragged dress rehearsal of a celebrity circus that carries no original, gutsy spark. It’s all rote; a Starbucks CD sitting next to the Sugar Cookies. Then Jesse Winchester nails it. One to the heart and head; that tear rolls down Neko’s cheek. What songs are supposed to do…
So now I’m psyched for the show! If you’ve never heard Jesse check out his music. Here’s the video Tom Russell talks about in his post.