Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and Alabama Music Hall Of Fame inductee, vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux celebrates her 69th birthday today. The native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama began her career as session singer in her hometown but is best known for her time as a member of the Grateful Dead.
Donna’s distinct background vocals are a definable characteristic of mid-1970s Dead, notably on songs such as “The Music Never Stopped” and “Playing In The Band.” Donna was a part of many seminal moments in Grateful Dead’s storied career. She was there for the band’s Europe 72 Tour, at Barton Hall on May 8, 1977 and in Egypt and Red Rocks in 1978. She and her husband, keyboardist Keith Godchaux, amicably left the Dead in 1979 – though Keith would tragically die in a car accident a year later.
Donna has since remained an active vocalist in the years since leaving the Dead. She recently held a reunion show with the Heart Of Gold Band and this summer she joined her former mates Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart for a few Dead & Company shows. She also appeared in the Muscle Shoals documentary film about the acclaimed FAME recording studio where she was a session performer for the likes of Elvis Presley, Percy Sledge and others at the start of her career.
While active members of the Dead, Donna and Keith also at times doubled as members of the Jerry Garcia Band. For Donna’s birthday today, here’s a video of her leading a JGB lineup featuring Keith on keyboards, Jerry Garcia on guitar, John Kahn on bass and Ron Tutt (who also recorded with Elvis) on drums from April 2, 1976 at The Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. Taken from the the late show, the clip below posted by the Music Vault features Donna belting out a version of fellow Alabama native Dorothy Love Coates’ “Strange Man,” watch:
Saturday’s Trey Anastasio concert in Charlotte featured three songs he hadn’t performed solo acoustic in over a decade.
The initial lineup for the inaugural Camp Greensky has been revealed by Greensky Bluegrass.
Watch a wild end to space featuring three members of Dead & Company on keys followed by a gorgeous “Looks Like Rain” in tribute to John Perry Barlow.
Three-fourths of the Smashing Pumpkins’ classic lineup is reuniting for an extensive summer tour.
Introducing a new festival featuring a bevy of New Orleans acts called Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown.
Pink Talking Fish worked all of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ double album into a marathon set at The Capitol Theatre that also featured Phish and Talking Heads covers. JamBase contributor Sarah Bourque captured the action.