Saturday Single No. 388

Jesse Winchester, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, passed on yesterday morning at his home in Virginia. He was 69. Rumors of his death had been flitting around Facebook and other social media sites for about a week, and yesterday they came true.

I’ll write a bit more about Winchester and his music early next week; things are a bit rushed this morning, and I want to let the mud settle down in the water before I write about someone whose music I enjoyed as much as I did his. But I also wanted to note his passing.

While regret and loss are part of any songwriter’s toolkit, they were perhaps sharper in Winchester’s toolbox than in the kits of most other songwriters. That’s evident in the melancholy strains of “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” from Winchester’s self-titled 1970 album, released after he left the U.S. for Canada as a draft resister.

Oh my, but you have a pretty face
You favor I girl that I knew
I imagine that she’s back in Tennessee
And by God, I should be there too
I’ve a sadness too sad to be true

But I left Tennessee in a hurry dear
In same way that I’m leaving you
Because love is mainly just memories
And everyone’s got him a few
So when I’m gone I’ll be glad to love you

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

When I leave it will be like I found you, love
Descending Victorian stairs
And I’m feeling like one of your photographs, girl
Trapped while I’m putting on airs
Getting even by saying, Who cares

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

So have all your passionate violins
Play a tune for a Tennessee kid
Who’s feeling like leaving another town
But with no place to go if he did
Cause they’ll catch you wherever you’re hid

At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
You’re literally waltzing on air
At the Brand New Tennessee Waltz
There’s no telling who will be there

And “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” by Jesse Winchester is today’s Saturday Single.

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2 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 388”

  1. Paco Malo says:

    The original “Tennessee Waltz” was covered admirably on Emmylou Harris’ album “Cimmaron”.

    I dig this track in a heartfelt way. He’s a great poet and tune smith, I love his song and I be damned if the woman singing harmony doesn’t sound like Emmylou.

    Jesse Winchester, Requiescat in Pace.

  2. porky says:

    I just recently found his Bearsville single, “Say What” from ’81, fondly remembered as the station I worked played it quite a bit.

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