Donna Jean and the Tricksters

During an era of rock 'n' roll in the 1970s that seemed dominated by men, it's fitting that a woman like Donna Jean would plant herself in the middle of the Grateful Dead and shake things up. After working for years in the fabled Muscle Shoals, Alabama, music scene — and even as a session singer at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio — Jean headed west, met Grateful Dead keyboardist Keith Godchaux in 1970, married him, and joined the band herself a year later. To some, that gave her a slight Yoko Ono mystique, but make no mistake: Jean was always doing what was right for the music. She lasted nearly a decade in the group and is the only female to ever be a member of the band, making her a pioneer. After years of personal and musical ups and downs (Godchaux died in 1980), she's touring again and making sure her voice is heard. She's moved back to Muscle Shoals and lives there when she's not touring with her jam-band-meets-soul revival group, the Tricksters. Former Grateful Dead member Bill Kreutzman is also in town, so those with high hopes should come check out the show, as you never know what these two might have planned.

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Jonathan Cunningham