Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Home is where the music is spun

He wasn't looked upon favorably in many corners because he avoided the military draft, fleeing like many other young Americans to Canada during the Vietnam War.  But that is exactly the reason he wrote one of the most beautiful songs we've heard at the Sanctuary.

It was good to see Jesse Winchester Sunday on stage during the telecast of Jimmy Buffett's concert for the Gulf Coast.  We seem to remember seeing him many years ago at Tampa Theatre, but maybe that was just a dream. It would have been sometime after President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to draft resisters in 1977.  We know at the time we wore the grooves out of Winchester's album Learn to Love It, and we certainly did learn to love his homespun music.

You cannot write the lyrics to "Mississippi You're On My Mind" without dearly missing home.  Close your eyes and listen to the song and you are transported to a mystical place that stuns you with its vivid rural beauty.  "L'Air de la Louisiane" is another gem from Learn to Love It, but we'll stick here with the song Winchester sang at Gulf Shores as the crowd swayed to its lovely bittersweet lyrics.

I think I see a wagon rutted road
With the weeds growing tall between the tracks
And along one side runs a rusty barbed wire fence
And beyond there sits an old tar paper shack

I think I hear a noisy old John Deere
In a field specked with dirty cotton lint
And below the field runs a little shady creek
And there you'll find the cool green leaves of mint

I think I smell the honeysuckle vine
The heavy sweetness like to make me sick
And the dogs, my God, they're hungry all the time
And the snakes are sleeping where the weeds are thick

I think I feel an angry oven heat
The southern sun just blazes in the sky
And in the dusty weeds, an old fat grasshopper jumps
I wanna make it to that creek before I fry

Mississippi, you're on my mind
Mississippi, you're on my mind
Woh, Mississippi you're on my mind


  1. Winchester's tour schedule is a gem. He's appearing with Guy Clark, Brewer & Shipley and others at some fantastic haunts -- including one of the Sanctuary's favorite guitar shops on 9-11. You're on my mind...