Jesse Winchester fans have learned the value of patience in anticipating new material from him over the years. After releasing 7 albums between 1970-81, Love Filling Station is just his third in the 28 years since.
Winchester’s self-titled debut was produced by Robbie Robertson, and featured Levon Helm and Todd Rundgren among it’s musicians. While the record was held in high esteem by musicians, sales were minimal. Part of this was no doubt due to the fact that Winchester, a self-proclaimed “draft dodger,” lived in Canada. His inability to perform in the U.S. for most of the ’70’s was surely a factor in the course of his subsequent career.
Jesse Winchester’s songs spoke for themselves though. Artists who have covered him over the years is an eclectic mix to say the least. A partial list includes Elvis Costello, The Everly Brothers, Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffett, and even the Weather Girls.
It has been nearly 40 years since Winchester’s debut, and the world has changed a great deal. But Love Filling Station is very much the laid back, country influenced record one would expect from this old hippie.
Jesse opens things up in a suitably carefree manner with “Oh What A Thrill,” which also features a nice nod to the vocal sound of Phil Everly. His wry sense of humor is showcased in the cheatin’ lament “It’s A Shame About Him.”
Of the dozen songs included on Love Filling Station, three are covers. By far the most effective is Winchester’s version of the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.” His mellow rendition, complete with strings is a definite high point here.
Love Filling Station may not break any new ground, but as Jesse fans will tell you, that really is not the point. This is more like the sound of an old friend checking in. For those of us who have enjoyed his music over the years, it is as welcome as a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.