Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester declared ‘cancer-free’


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Good news for fans of singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, who canceled his remaining 2011 tour dates after revealing this summer that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The critically acclaimed musician has successfully undergone treatment and has been declared cancer-free, according to a post from his wife, Cindy.

“The surgeon just received the pathology report -- Jesse had a complete pathological response,” she wrote. “They moved him out of ICU in the middle of the night and into the post-surgery recovery unit. Jesse is way ahead on the recovery schedule. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’


Keith Case, Winchester’s booking agent in Nashville, confirmed the report, saying “Yes, that is all true and we are all very excited.”

The Memphis-bred musician emerged in 1970 with a self-titled debut album produced by Robbie Robertson of the Band, whom he’d met while living in Canada, where he lived to avoid being drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. Songs such as “Brand New Tennessee Waltz” and “Yankee Lady” earned the praise of critics for their disarmingly poetic lyrics, wry sense of humor and endearing melodies often reflecting Winchester’s Southern heritage. He returned to the States in the late 1970s, after President Jimmy Carter enacted an amnesty program for draft evaders.

Elvis Costello invited Winchester onto his Sundance Channel music series “Spectacle,” helping introduce him and his music to a new generation. He has continued to record and tour periodically. His latest album, “Love Filling Station,” was released in 2009. Artists including Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, the Judds, Nicolette Larson, the Weather Girls and Michael Martin Murphey have recorded his songs.


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Jesse Winchester: At Home on Both Sides of the Border

-- Randy Lewis