Jeff Mattson

The jam band enthusiasts—“aged Deadheads”—and hipsters alike, all made their way out from the depths of the Colorado Front Range for a night of Grateful Dead tribute and homage. Dark Star Orchestra made the Dead fans of Denver “Get Up, Get Off, Get Out of the Door,” to suit up for an original setlist and production at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 5th, 2021.

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:

They’ll be fresh off DSO’s Fall Tour, but they can’t resist making music together, so Mattson/Barraco & Friends with Skip Vangelas is pleased to announce a holiday season 3-night run of stirring psychedelic electricity!

Dark Star Orchestra crashed into Eugene’s McDonald Theatre last Saturday night and poured their brilliant light into ashes of moments, shows and tours past. 

They resurrected a spry Dead set from early ’87—April 7, Brendan Byrne Arena (NJ)—that  again moved a crowd of hopeful dreamers and warmed yearning hearts with smiles, smiles, smiles.

Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson is proud to announce the release of their debut album, Back Around on February 18, 2014.The album will be sold for digital download through Heart of Gold Records’ exclusive agreement with The Orchard on ITunes and other digital media CD distribution will be online through Grateful Dead (Dead.net), CD Baby and Amazon.com.Recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL at the Nutthouse Recording Studio, the album blends a Muscle Shoals groove with a psychedelic San Francisco vibe.

The beauty of the Grateful Dead legacy extends far past the demise of the original line-up that sadly ended with the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. The Grateful Dead created a dedicated community, or rather a counterculture, based on music and family values that have since refused to give up and let go.

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.

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