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Donna Jean Godchaux


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Donna Jean was born in Sheffield, Alabama. Prior to 1970, she had worked as a session singer[1] in Muscle Shoals, appearing on songs by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding.[2] She met fellow Grateful Dead member Keith Godchaux and they married in 1970.[3]

Donna introduced Keith to Jerry Garcia after Garcia’s performance at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner in October 1971. At the time, Donna Jean was not working as a musician. She joined the band shortly afterwards, remaining a member until February 1979.

Donna Jean provided back-up and lead vocals in the group’s music. During their membership in the Grateful Dead, the couple also issued the mostly self-written Keith and Donna album in 1975 with Jerry Garcia as a Keith and Donna Band member. In turn, they performed as part of the Jerry Garcia Band.

Keith and Donna’s son, Zion “Rock” Godchaux, of BoomBox was born in 1974.

After the Grateful Dead, the couple started the Heart of Gold Band.

Donna did not perform again with any Grateful Dead band members until after the death of Jerry Garcia. Shortly after her husband’s death in 1980, Donna Jean turned to religion.[4] She married bassist David MacKay (former Fiddleworms member and bassist for Donna Jean Godchaux Band) and the couple moved to Florence, Alabama to work at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

In 2009, Donna Jean formed a brand new band with Jeff Mattson, The Donna Jean Godchaux Band w/Jeff Mattson

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