The Donna Jean Godchaux Band
The Donna Jean Godchaux Band
Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Donna Jean (vocals) sang at both Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and Fame Studios, home of the legendary “Muscle Shoals Sound,” on records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and Boz Scagg’s eponymous first solo album. She moved to San Francisco, married Keith Godchaux, and spent the 1970s as a vocalist in the Grateful Dead as well as the Jerry Garcia Band. After life with the Dead, she and Keith created the Heart of Gold Band with drummer Greg Anton and guitarist Steve Kimock. Following various side trips, she resumed serious focus on her singing in the ‘90s, recording a new Heart of Gold Band album, At the Table, and singing with Phil & Friends and her own Donna Jean Band.
Jeff Mattson (guitar, vocals) came to prominence as the lead guitarist, primary vocalist, and leader of Long Island’s legendary Grateful Dead-influenced jam band, the Zen Tricksters and is now the lead guitarist for Dark Star Orchestra. Over the course of thirty years, his supple, elegant playing reflected a fusion of rock, blues, bluegrass, country, jazz and folk stylings, along with a healthy dose of psychedelia. His songwriting credits include the exquisitely mournful “Shelter” (co-written with Donna Jean), as well as “Travelin’ Light,” (co-written with Melissa Marston), “He Said/She Said,” (with Donna Jean), and “A Prisoner Says His Piece,” all for Donna Jean and the Tricksters. He also co-wrote with Rob Barracco “Leave Me Out of This” for Phil Lesh and Friends’ There and Back Again. He played with Phil Lesh and Friends in 1999.
David MacKay (bass, vocals) hails from Marin County, California. As part of the emerging Bay Area music scene of the 70’s, he was a founding member of the popular band the Tasmanian Devils and recorded and toured with Michael Nesmith, playing bass on the first Grammy-winning video, “Elephant Parts.” He was a member of both the original and reformed Heart of Gold Band. Most recently, he has played bass with the Muscle Shoals-based group The Fiddleworms.
Joe Chirco (percussion) knew he was born to be a drummer from the Christmas Day, aged five, that he received his first drum set. What makes him positively unique among drummers has been his need to play in many different genres. As most working musicians do, he’s a member of a number of different bands – but few could list bands that have Jazz, Latin, Reggae, and Rock as their main styles. This subtle versatility, along with the soulful power that every rock band needs, has brought him to the DJGBwJM.
Freeman White came from a musical family, and began his musical journeys at the age of 4, with private instruction that lasted well into adulthood. He started playing professionally at the age of 15. His years of playing have taken him around the world, and have given him the opportunity to share the stage with some of his musical idols. His love of vintage equipment makes for an authentic, warm addition to the band’s sound. Vocally, he adds the “top” end to any arranagement, or “drives the bus” with powerful, heartfelt leads.