Jesse Winchester was an unforgettable personality and his songs were instantly identifiable. He visited Mountain Stage ten times from 1986 through 2013. His talent, charm, and gentle charisma became more potent with each visit.
The recent tribute album, Quiet About It, put together by Mac McAnally, with Winchester covers from Jimmy Buffet, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint and seven more of the best singer songwriters you can name is a hint of the respect he has earned among peers and admirers.
In 2001, Blue Plate Records released Jesse Winchester Live from Mountain Stage which included thirteen beautiful songs. The notes for that collection said “Jesse Winchester’s songs have an old fashioned air to them; a genteel atmosphere that comes out of the benevolent side of the Old South. His lyrics are subtle, almost antique at times, and his themes are often classically bittersweet – lost love, desire and guilt, the entire spectrum of feelings that that come ‘As soon as you learn that you don't live forever,’ as he says in ‘Little Glass of Wine’.”
Jesse seemed fragile during his last visit, but his recent illness explained that, and we never thought it would be the last time we’d see him. As always, he captivated both young and old in the audience and even sang two songs he identified as new. One of them, “I Never Forget to Boogie” was an instant classic in our world, and a fitting goodbye from a man who always seemed to remember what was important in this life. -Larry Groce, April 2014