Jesse Winchester, the songwriter’s songwriter who collaborated with members of The Band and Todd Rundgren as a young draft-dodger in Canada, settling down locally in recent years, announced on his website that he has cancer of the esophogus. Shows for July and August have been canceled.
"I’m sorry to announce that I’m canceling my shows for July and August," reads the note. "I have been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, and will have to undergo treatment for the next couple of months. I’m very sorry if any plans have been disrupted; I do hope to see you again soon, and we’ll pick up where we left off."
Winchester could not immediately be reached for comment, although a representative at his booking agency, Keith Case and Associates, said that the cancer had been caught early, and they are hopeful for a swift recovery: Dates are still posted on his website beyond September, including one at The Mockingbird in Staunton scheduled for late October.
For 40 years Winchester’s albums have lingered at the bottom end of the charts, if they made it at all. (He did have one top-40 hit, "Say What," in 1981.) His influence has mostly trickled down through more famous admirers like Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Elvis Costello and the Everly Brothers, all of whom have covered Winchester’s songs.
Read a C-VILLE review of a recent Winchester show here.
Get well soon, Jesse!