Drove up to the Me and Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead on Friday 3/30 to see Jesse Winchester. Hadn't been there yet this year, but it's a great place to see music and we have it worked out to meet in Salem beforehand for dinner at a great beer cafe and then drive down there for when the doors open. BUT this time when we got there for the doors there was a long line and we couldn't sit in our customary front-row seats! Gosh, maybe people are smarter than we thought!! Because seeing Jesse Winchester in a small hall surrounded by friendly, dedicated ladies and gentlemen of leisure is about as good as it gets.
Rj Cowdery opened and started the night off on the right foot with some excellent songs and some masterful guitar playing. She has a very powerful left hand and got a great tone out of her instrument, as well as displaying some very good vocal talent.
Then Jesse came on and we were transported to another world, one even more genteel then Marblehead. There's absolutely no way I can describe the level of his eloquence. Jesse has made many fans throughout his time on this earth and I'm so glad he's still here and still entertaining us. He played Yankee Lady in the middle of the first set and it took me the next few songs to recover from that experience ... I'm glad he didn't encore with it or it would have taken over my mind for days! I'm just in love with that song.
Some songwriters are brutally honest and others are extremely sincere or obviously authentic. Jesse is all of the above and none of the above. The songs he's written and his style of singing them show a frankness with himself and with us and a beauty of soul, and a belief in the beautiful souls of his listeners, that makes you feel like his notes are just mainlining their way to the depths of your being. He closed the first set with a new one, that had a line in it about the importance of support from his mom and dad that said in a few words what people have been struggling for years to say to each other.
OK, there were a few songs I wanted to hear that he didn't play but he did a fair number of the great ones, including Twigs and Seeds, Defying Gravity, Little Glass of Wine, A Showman's Life, Foolish Heart, Gentleman of Leisure, That's What Makes You Strong, and so on. I could listen to him for days.