Jesse Winchester

Nothing But a Breeze

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Jesse Winchester regularly took two years between record releases, but he brought in his fifth album, Nothing but a Breeze, a mere nine months after its predecessor, Let the Rough Side Drag. The impetus for such speed seems to have been the potential commercial bonanza to be gained by Winchester's first U.S. appearances since he moved to Canada to avoid the draft in 1967, due to President Jimmy Carter's amnesty program. Winchester also used a real producer, Brian Ahern (known for his work with Emmylou Harris), for the first time, and augmented his usual backup band with session stars such as Ricky Skaggs and James Burton, plus supporting vocalists like Harris and Anne Murray. The result was an Ahern-style country-pop album, but, perhaps predictably, a rather light effort for Winchester, who performed three covers among the ten tracks and included among the originals such comic trifles as "Twigs and Seeds" and "Rhumba Man." The title track, which became his first singles-chart entry, and "My Songbird," which Harris later covered, were effective songs, but the significance of Nothing but a Breeze, which enjoyed a media buzz and became Winchester's highest-charting album (which isn't saying much), was in inverse proportion to the attention it received.

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