Jeff Mattson (guitar, vocals) is a master of eclectic styles. A founding member of the legendary jam band, The Zen Tricksters, Jeff a guitar wizard whose playing ranges from rock & roll to blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, and folk, with a healthy dose of psychedelia. In addition to his full-time job as lead guitarist in Dark Star Orchestra (he was invited to join 2009 when founding member John Kadlecik left for Furthur), Jeff also plays with longtime compatriot Donna Jean Godchaux in the Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson. Jeff is also a noted songwriter who contributed songs to DJGB’s latest release, Back Around (Heart of Gold Records), and his work is prominently featured on five other albums (Donna Jean & the Tricksters , For Rex: The Black Tie-Dye Ball , Shaking Off the Weirdness , A Love Surreal , The Holy Fool ). He is known for delivering heart-wrenching vocals as well as his ever-present desire to explore new musical terrain with his fellow musicians. Jeff was asked to audition for Phil Lesh & Friends in the fall of 1999 and in October 1999, Jeff and then Zen Trickster keyboard player, Rob Barraco, played three shows with Phil & Friends at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco.
Donna Jean Godchaux. Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Donna Jean was a vocalist at both Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and Fame Studios, home of the legendary “Muscle Shoals Sound,” on records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and Boz Scagg’s eponymous first solo album. She moved to San Francisco, married Keith Godchaux, and spent the 1970s as a vocalist in the Grateful Dead as well as the Jerry Garcia Band. After life with the Dead, she and Keith created the Heart of Gold Band with drummer Greg Anton and guitarist Steve Kimock.
Following various side trips, she resumed serious focus on her singing in the ‘90s, recording a new Heart of Gold Band album, At the Table, and singing with Phil & Friends and her own Donna Jean Band.