Jesse Winchester died yesterday, just a month short of seventy. His first album, released in 1970, introduced a new voice in American music, especially the song Yankee Lady. His description of living “in the hills of old Vermont, where what you do all day depends on what you want” appealed to me and thousands (millions?) of people who rejected the corporate, establishment life American society wanted for us.
The other thing that his fans related to was that he was living in Canada, avoiding the war and the draft that we hated. It was a concrete connection between the lives of a musician and his fans, many of whom could imagine being in his same position (my father was encouraging me to consider going to college at McGill for the same reason) that was unusual, possibly unique.
Winchester eventually returned to the United States after Jimmy Carter announced his amnesty program, and went on to have a long and successful career as a singer and songwriter. If you don't know his music, or even if you do, here's a selection for your enjoyment.
Maybe one of our readers knew him when he was here in Vermont and could share some memories.