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Remembering Jesse Winchester

by Dan Bloom, producer

Late least week, we noted the death of our past guest Jesse Winchester with great sadness. The immensely talented singer & songwriter succumbed to bladder cancer and died in his sleep at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was 69 years old. Winchester’s personal story is compelling and his music is rich and mesmeric. We will miss Jesse Winchester, but his music will live on in the memory of his fans, and Bob & I certainly count ourselves among them.

**This program and the rest of this post originally ran in April 2009**

It was a choice that confronted many young Americans during the 1960s…you’ve been drafted into a war that you vehemently oppose, and the options are pretty bleak: report to the military, go to jail, or flee your homeland for a life in exile. Jesse Winchester faced this very decision after graduating from Williams College. He chose to move north to Canada, and proved to be a talented singer and songwriter. But one condition of going to Canada was the understanding that he could not return to the United States - no personal visits and no professional touring. That handicapped his chances at solo stardom. During his ten years in Canada, Winchester developed quality material, recording some brilliant tunes and writing hits for other artists. When he headed north, Jesse Winchester never imagined that American draft dodgers would be granted amnesty. In 1977, ten years after he left, president Jimmy Carter did just that. Winchester returned to the United States and settled in Charlottesville, Virginia. That’s where Bob and I met up with him to record a memorable interview in December of 2008.

I had never heard Jesse Winchester’s songs before our trip to Charlottesville, but as a producer who loves music and politics, I have to thank our host for turning me on to his work and his story. He was a gentle, talented and thoughtful man with a fascinating personal story of historical significance and an excess of musical talent…he was the total package of a Bob Edwards Show guest.

I thank Jesse Winchester for his time, his music, his candor and courage. It was a fascinating piece to put together and I hope you’ll find it an engaging listen.

Jesse Winchester, 1944-2014.


Hear Bob Edwards Weekend From April 12-13, 2014


Forthcoming on The Bob Edwards Show

The Bob Edwards Show, April 14-18, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014:  Conservationist and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Dave Goulson found his passion for bees as a young boy in rural England. His book, A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees, looks at why bees worldwide are declining and what we can do about it. Then, director Liza Johnson’s new film, Hateship Loveship, is an adaptation of a short story by Nobel laureate Alice Munro and stars actress Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) as the shy lead character. Bob talks with Johnson and Wiig about this story of unlikely friendship and love. Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Nolte, and Guy Pearce co-star. 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014:  Four years ago, three American hikers in Iraqi Kurdistan accidentally crossed the border into Iran.  Captured by border patrol, they were accused of espionage and sent to Evin prison in Tehran.  Bob talks to Shane BauerJoshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd about their experience and book, A Sliver Of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. Then, linguist and senior writer for the New York Times, Margalit Fox’s book The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells the fascinating tale of Linear B, a previously-unknown script discovered at the turn-of-the 19th century in the ruins of Knossos.  It’s now available in paperback.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014:  Bob talks to Michael Lewis about high frequency trading on Wall Street. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department is investigating high speed trading, saying it rigs the market. Michael Lewis explains how this relatively new, shadowy industry operates, and the efforts of a handful of traders to rein it in, in his new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Then, for the past 18 years, photographer Robert Dawson traveled the United States cataloguing hundreds of public libraries.  His book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, combines his pictures with essays about our library system from America’s best writers and public thinkers.  Joining Dawson to talk with Bob about the state of this American institution is Luis Herrera, director of San Francisco Public Library.
Thursday, April 17, 2014:  On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Right Act, Bob speaks with two authors of new books that tell the story behind the creation of the landmark legislation. Clay Risen is an editor at New York Times op-ed section and the author of The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act. And Todd Purdum is a senior writer at Politico and the author of An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Then, we listen back to our talk with Jesse Winchester, who sadly lost his battle with cancer last week at age 69. In 1967, Winchester went to Canada to avoid being drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. While in Montreal, he wrote songs that were covered by various artists, but Winchester’s career as a performer suffered because he couldn’t tour in the United States. Only after President Carter’s amnesty in 1977 could Winchester return to the U.S. to perform for his American fans.
Friday, April 18, 2014:  Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, actor John Torturro has appeared in four films by the Coen Brothers, nine Spike Lee joints and all three of the Transformers blockbuster movies. His latest film is Fading Gigolo, which he wrote, directed and stars in. It includes a stellar cast, featuring Woody Allen as Torturro’s pimp.  We’ll discuss the new movie and Torturro’s eclectic acting career.

This Weekend's Program

Bob Edwards Weekend, April 12-13, 2014
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.
It is not new news that Americans take less vacation and work more hours than any other population. But what is all of this work doing to us? Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte’s new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, looks at the facts behind our culture of busyness.
Hateship Loveship is a new film adapted from a short story by Nobel laureate Alice Munro. Bob talks with director Liza Johnson and actress Kristen Wiig about this story of unlikely friendship and love. 
David Crosby is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – for his work with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Now Crosby has released Croz, his first solo studio album in over 20 years.  Bob talks with Crosby about his career and his latest work.

Bob Edwards Weekend airs on Sirius XM Public Radio (XM 121, Sirius 205) Saturdays from 8-10 AM ET.

Visit Bob Edwards Weekend on PRI’s website to find local stations that air the program.

Tigers Forever

by Dan Bloom, producer

© Steve Winter/National Geographic

The Tiger is one of the most beautiful and powerful animals from the earth, inspiring awe in cultures around the world, but its value on the black market makes it an attractive target for poachers.
In the book ‘Tigers Forever,’ photographer Steve Winter and writer Sharon Guynup present stunning images of these majestic creatures and lay out the challenges faced by tigers in today’s world, including degradation of their natural habitat. The book also highlights the work of intentional organizations, government groups and local individuals who devote their energies to preserving big cats.
To look upon the beautiful pictures taken by Winter while reading the words penned by Guynup, one is struck by an affection for these wonders of nature and a desire to aid the efforts for their conservation. 
For more information on how to do so, visit the website of Panthera, a leading big cat conservation group: They tweet at @pantheracats.
For more information on the book and to see photos, visit:
To learn more about the work of Steve Winter, his website is: and Sharon Guynup’s is:
Steve Winter tweets at @swfoto, Sharon Guynup tweets at @sguynup.
For a gallery of pictures from ‘Tigers Forever,’ click here.
Preview video for ‘Tigers Forever’ book: