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In Memoriam: Country Stars We Lost in 2014

A pop-country icon and the International Ambassador of Country Music were just a few of the legendary singers who died in 2014

George Hamilton IV

George Hamilton IV

Getty

This year saw the loss of not just some of the greatest singers in country music, but also some of the most notable songwriters and torchbearers of the genre. The Grand Ole Opry lost a couple of its regular performers; Music Row said goodbye to some talented tunesmiths; and the world is now without an "Ambassador of Country Music." We look back at the iconic careers of some of the top country musicians who passed away in 2014.

Jesse Winchester

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Jesse Winchester Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Jesse Winchester

Since the early Seventies, Jesse Winchester quietly maintained a career as a graceful, introspective singer-songwriter whose tunes would be recorded by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, the Everly Brothers and James Taylor. Many of his best-known compositions ("Mississippi You're on My Mind," "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz," "Biloxi") were tales of aching homesickness from the Southern-born musician who, after dodging the Vietnam War draft in 1967, was exiled to Canada for a decade until he received amnesty and was allowed to return to home. His 1978 song “A Showman's Life” has been covered over the years by George Strait, Buddy Miller, Gary Allan and, most recently, by Chris Carmack (Will Lexington) on ABC's Nashville. Winchester's stunning, posthumous studio album, recorded in the year before he died, was released in September. Winchester was 69.

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