Jesse Winchester at the Tin Angel – 4/12/11

So along about forty some odd years ago, my girlfriend now my wife, told me about this great new artist that she read about in Rolling Stone Jesse Winchester!

Well, last Tuesday night we finally saw him live for the first time! Jesse captivated a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Tin Angel in Philly with his great songs and a few funny stories. One story involved a Mercury Gran Marguis and his “descent into geezerhood”. He opened with the humorous ” I Don’t Forget to Boogie” followed by one of his best and probably most covered songs “Brand New Tennessee Waltz”.  Jesse’s song have been covered by a variety of singers including Patti Page, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, Jerry Jeff Walker, Wilson Pickett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Reba McEntire, David Ball (country music), Bonnie Raitt, Everly Brothers and Brewer < Shipley but his self professed favorite rendition of any song covered is that of Ed Bruce in his rendition of “Evil Angel”.

For the rest of the evening we were treated to songs spanning his entire career. From the first song my wife loved “Yankee Lady” to several songs from his latest album Love Filling Station including one of my favorites “Bless Your Foolish Heart”, “Far Side Bank of Jordon”  and the song Neko Case cried to “Sham A Ling Ding Dong”.

In addition to the above mentioned songs from his first album (Brand New Tennessee Waltz and Yankee Lady ) he also performed “Biloxi”. That’s a song that I usually associate with Tom Rush who covered it nicely on his album Wrong End of the Rainbow.

From Gentleman of Leisure he sang the title track as well as a favorite of mine “That’s What Makes You Strong” and “Tickle Me” and from Humour Me “I Don’t Think You Love Me Anymore” I love the chorus of this song

Now you don’t play footsy with me
We don’t sleep like spoons
We don’t snuggle up and dance
To sweet old doo-wop tunes
And we don’t kiss like Eskimos
And lock the bedroom door
Gee, I don’t think you love me anymore

Of course he did do my favorite “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind” and songs that he dedicated to his father “Hank and Lefty” and to his daughter Alice, who just delivered his third grandchild! He sang  “It Takes a Young Girl” from the album Nothing But A Breeze.”

He closed with “I Can’t Stand Up Alone” from Learn to Love It. The encore was a requested song “Defying Gravity”.  The only way the evening could have been better was if he had come out to sign some autographs after the show, but anyway for me, it was a night to remember!

Here’s a vintage performance of “Yankee Lady”