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A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble

Jesse Winchester

Appleseed 2014

Review by David Bowling

 

The music of Jesse Winchester is like an old friend who shows up at your door every once in awhile, renewing acquaintances, creating new memories, and then disappearing until next time.

Jesse Winchester’s voice was silenced when he passed away from cancer April 11, 2014. When his cancer was in remission, he went into the studio and recorded the tracks for what was to become his last studio album. A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble has a release date of September 16th.

Jesse Winchester never really received the huge commercial success he deserved. He had a voice that commanded attention, while at the same time expressing emotion. He was also a first rate songwriter whose compositions were covered by dozens of artists including Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Wilson Pickett, The Everly Brothers, and Emmylou Harris. What may be his last nine compositions are among the album’s 12 tracks.

It is a poignant album as he was facing morality in the eye. “Just So Much” is his philosophical musings on the ending of life, which everyone faces. It is not a morbid song but one of reluctant acceptance. “All I Have Is Now”  travels in a more humorous direction as he reviews some of the all to fleeting pleasures of life. Also included is “Never Forget To Boogie,” which is the type of song he was so good at creating. It is a rock song but with some odd twists.

It may be the cover songs that are the most telling. “Whispering Bells,” “Devil Or Angels,” and “Rhythm Of The Rain,” were hit songs from his youth by The Del Vikings, Bobby Vee, and The Cascades respectively. He may have released them as this was his last chance to record some childhood favorites as he brought his career and life full circle.

A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble is a fitting conclusion to his career as it combines a stoicism with a sense of celebration.

 

Rating: ****

 

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