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Jesse Winchester, Celebrated Singer-Songwriter, Dies at Age 69


Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, who influenced a broad swath of country and pop recording artists, died Friday morning (April 11) at his home in Charlottesville, Va., at age 69 . His family announced his death in a message on his Facebook page. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2011.

Born James Ridout Winchester on May 17, 1944, in Bossier City, La., he grew up on farms in Mississippi and later in the city of Memphis.

After receiving his draft notice in 1967 and faced with the prospect of being sent to fight in Vietnam, he fled to Montreal. There he met Robbie Robertson of The Band, who produced his first album, Jesse Winchester in 1970, and Todd Rundgren, who engineered it.

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