Donna Jean Godchaux Joins Steve Kimock
Steve Kimock kicked off his weekly residency at New York’s Sullivan Hall last night. The show’s core band consisted of Kimock, keyboardist Henry Butler,
bassist Andy Hess and drummer John Morgan Kimock. After opening his show with “Nana’s Chalk Pipe,” Kimock invited out his onetime Zero/Heart of Gold
Band collaborator Donna Jean Godchaux for “Watchin’ the River Flow.” The Grateful Dead singer remained onstage for “Crazy Fingers,” “Scarlet Begonias,”
“Eyes of the World” and “Franklins’ Tower.” The latter three songs of the set also featured Dead On guitarist/vocalist Matt Muller. Given the evening’s
guests, the show featured one of Kimock’s more Dead-heavy solo set lists.
Band of Brotherz/Alphabet Soup vocalist Chris Burger also emerged during the ensemble’s second set to rap on “All Together Now.” Kimock’s Sullivan Hall
residency will continue Wednesday night with special guests Marco Benevento, Lettuce’s Adam Deitch and The Slip’s Marc Friedman.
Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson
March 19, 2011
written by Honest Tune
If Jeff Mattson’s (Dark Star Orchestra) mimicry of Jerry Garcia’s signature sound could find a home in a single Dead era, it would be the seventies.
For this reason, his sound coupled with the voice of Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay (whose Grateful Dead tenure spanned the decade of the same) possesses
something that is unto itself a unique experience.
Godchaux, whose vocal accompaniment in many ways stood out far beyond those of her male counterparts, continues to have the pipes to belt out the chants
that one cannot help But bellow (see the outro to any 1971-1979 "Playing in the Band" bridge-jam) when they are sung.
Coupled with the pipes, her soul shone just as brightly at New Jersey’s Mexicali Live on a recent spring night.
Setlist (courtesy of Donna Jean Godchaux Band)
Set I: Tore Up Over You, I Want to Tell You> Jam> Cosmic Charlie, Don’t Fight it*, Delta Jubilee*, Ramble On Rose, Mighty High*, Darkness Darkness>
Eyes of the World
Set II: Mystery Train, Gone Gone Gone, Palm Sunday, Big Railroad Blues, Tear My Stillhouse Down, Back Around> The Maker> Not Fade Away> 19th Nervous
Encore: You Ain’t Woman
*w/The B3s- Lizzie Friel (Reflections) and Joanne Lediger (Johnny Markowski Band)-vocals
By stringjamjazz (String_jam_jazz) on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 01:38 pm
If folks'll forgive the Xpost, here's the review I wrote of my Donna experience on Mule Army:
Donna Jean Godchaux Band
9/26/09 The 8x10. Baltimore, MD
w/Devin Greenwood (Donna Jean Band 1997)-keyboards
*w/Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band, Ratdog, Donna Jean & the Tricksters)-keyboards
Set 1: New Speedway Boogie, It Takes a Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry, Brown Eyed Women, Don’t Fight It. They Love Each Other,
Eyes of the World> Terrapin Station> Franklin ’s Tower> Drums> Mighty High
Set 2: From the Heart of Me, Fire on the Mountain> Ship of Fools, Mississippi Half Step, Catfish John*, Tore Up Over You
E: Green River
I have to admit I didn't go to this show with high expectations. I was really going to lay eyes on Donna in person, icon of the 70s magic
years of the Grateful Dead which were before my time. I thought the music would be nice, But unremarkable. Boy, was I ever wrong.
From the first lead, Jeff Mattson’s guitar just lit up the room. Now, I usually like any instrumentalist to have an original style. I usually
pan imitators. Mattson is a Jerry Garcia imitator, But the imitation is so brilliant I was captivated by it. The sound was so totally steeped
in the 70s Garcia Band style of playing – so stretched out and patient, getting every bit of resonance from each bell-clear note, working every
possibility from each hand position before moving up or down. Impressive. This was the first show where I got to rock my Warren/Jerry “Blood of
His Music” t-shirt and the blood of Jerry’s music was pulsing through Mattson’s guitar like I’ve rarely heard. I loved it.
Donna is in great, great voice nowadays. She sounds so much better now than she does on 70s show recordings. She sounds as good as she did on
studio albums, lending credence to her statements that she couldn’t hear herself well enough in front of the Wall of Sound back in the day. From
the Heart of Me and Ship of Fools were highlights – you won’t hear anything sweeter. Mattson has a nice, even, slightly soulful voice too and they
blended well, especially on the rousing choruses of Mighty High. That version makes me think more of the Mighty Clouds of Joy than the Garcia Band.
The rhythm section kind of snuck up on me as the show progressed. Devin Greenwood is a weak soloist on keys, But as they got deeper in the setlist
his playing off Mattson got better and better – harmonic, richly colored, very jazzy in a manner that recalled Keith’s early 70s playing in its
effect But not in its sound. He wasn’t imitating, just getting to as interesting places. Joe Chirco on drums and David McKay on bass were very
solid and tight throughout, But I noticed in first set that I wasn’t noticing anything special in what they were doing. Until Terrapin. When the
crescendos started to rise at the end of Terrapin, both guys just exploded, roaring through it with intricate runs and shook the tiny little club
hard. They faded back to flawless support after the drum solo, though McKay reasserted himself during the build at the end of ½ Step, playing some
blistering, heavy parts that were the best bass playing I’ve seen by somebody other than Phil in a long time.
All that, plus a Mookie sighting, for $15 bucks. Fantastic evening. The only shame was that maybe 50 people witnessed first set, and at most 30 of
us were still around by 1:30 am when the encore started. What this group is laying down deserves to be heard by many, many more folks than that.
by David Gans
(GD Hour) Review: Donna Jean Band at Gathering of the Vibes 7/23/09