Donna Jean & the Tricksters : Donna Jean & the Tricksters

donna_jean_tricksters.jpg The pairing of Donna Jean Thatcher and California Dead enthusiasts The Zen Tricksters certainly seems like a match made in heaven. The only question upon listening to their self titled debut together is: Why did it take so long to put the two in the same studio?

Donna Jean sang with the Grateful Dead during their vital stretch in the 1970s. Finding The Tricksters and singing with them, DJ found a vibrant new voice, and the atmosphere drips from track to track on this eponymous release. The opener, "All I Gotta Say" sways with a swaggering rhythm that Donna taps with a sweet, soulful vocal treatment. Jeff Matson’s Garcia- esque lead guitar fills color the bouncing "So Hard." And, Will McFarlane’s composition "No Better Way" benefits from the sailing percolation of The Trickster’s harmonies underneath Donna Jean’s powerhouse singing. But, it is when the two forces connect on Mattson’s "Travelin’ Light" that the sparks really fly. Bassist Klyph Black and drummer Dave Diamond keep the groove intact while Mookie Siegel’s circular runs on keyboards color the spaces in between.

A natural formula guaranteed to produce repeated listening and inspired tailgating from the parking lot before shows, Donna Jean & The Tricksters is a no brainer for the next planned wide open spaces road trip.   

Donna Jean & the Tricksters is out now on DIG Music