Donna Godchaux


Donna GodchauxDonna Jean (Thatcher) Godchaux-MacKay (born August 22, 1947) is an American singer best known for having been a member of the rock group Grateful Dead. Donna Jean was born in Sheffield, Alabama. Prior to 1970, she had worked as a session singer in Muscle Shoals, appearing on songs by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. She met fellow Grateful Dead member Keith Godchaux and they married in 1970.


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 the 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. 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.

Donna Godchaux

In 2009, Donna Jean formed a brand new band with Jeff Mattson, The Donna Jean Godchaux Band w/Jeff Mattson, after re-entering the music scene with Jeff Mattson (former Phil Lesh and Friends, Zen Tricksters) and Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band, Phil Lesh and Friends, Ratdog) to form Kettle Joe's Psychedelic Swamp Revue, then known as the Donna Jean Godchaux Band, several years earlier. She occasionally makes guest appearances with Bob Weir; Ratdog, Zero; Steve Kimock, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Dark Star Orchestra. Donna Jean was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 as a member of the Grateful Dead. She continues to reside in Florence, Alabama, and remains an active member of the Muscle Shoals music scene when not touring with the Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson.