Andy Logan is a Dead Head who recognizes (along with the rest of us!) that Dead music is our common heritage and a nurturing source of love for us all. Wanting to support that, and having a collection of guitars, he began to lend and sometimes give special instruments to gifted players who didn’t have the means to acquire them on their own. This came to include not only first-quality examples of the types of guitars that Garcia and Weir had played, but then instruments built for them, as well as instruments Jerry owned, most famously “Alligator,” his axe from the era of Europe ’
Grateful Web recently had the honor of visiting with Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay. While most folks are familiar with Donna Jean as the radiant co-vocalist of 1970s Grateful Dead, augmenting some of the seminal group’s most celebrated tunes such as “The Music Never Stopped,” “Cassidy,” “Mississippi Half-Step,” and “Playing in the Band,” she holds deeper roots in Americana as a 1960s session musician of the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
Some 14 years ago, Donna Jean and the Tricksters (Donna Jean Godchaux and the Zen Tricksters, basically) put out an album of the same name. It included a song called “Shelter.” As the pandemic took over our lives, Donna Jean thought about the new meaning of the song and….but let me let her tell you about it:
The Grateful Dead – New Riders of the Purple Sage – Marshall Tucker Band concert on September 3, 1977, is a special moment in the Dead’s legendary career. The largest concert in New Jersey history, it drew well over 100,000 fans to hear the Dead in spectacular form (and after a three-month break necessitated by Mickey Hart’s car accident and broken shoulder). Not just the Dead: as Mike Falzarano toured with the New Riders a few years later, most shows would include someone saying that they’d seen the Riders at Englishtown.
The roster of current and former Zen Tricksters include some of the most venerable musicians in the Jam Band scene today. Originating from Long Island, New York, this band has played together and apart for over 30 years and its members, not only “life long” Zen Tricksters, play and have played with other bands of renown, including Dark Star Orchestra, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Other Ones, The Dead, and Assembly of Dust.
Amid the recent and exciting “Shakedowns” amongst the currently touring Grateful Dead threaded projects, I had the good fortune of swapping some very interesting and eloquent emails with my friend Jeff Mattson.
After years at the helm of The Zen Tricksters, a stint with Phil Lesh and Friends, a terrific and on-going run with Donna Jean Godchaux and her various recent incarnations, Mattson now steps into John Kadlicek’s shoes with the freight train that is the Dark Star Orchestra.