Keith Godchaux
Keith Richard Godchaux was a musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 best known for his tenure in the rock group the Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...



Keith Godchaux was born in Seattle
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

, Washington and grew up in Concord
Concord, California
Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California, USA. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067. Originally founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. He met and married Donna Jean Godchaux
Donna Godchaux
Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay is an American singer best known for having been a member of the Grateful Dead rock group.-Biography:...

 in 1970; their son Zion, of the band BoomBox
BoomBox is an American rock band, which is most known for its quick rise into the Jam band music scene andthrough founding member Zion Godchaux's association with the Grateful Dead...

, was born in 1974.

The couple introduced themselves to Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia
Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was an American musician best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead...

 at a concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

 in 1971. At the time, Godchaux had been appearing with Dave Mason
Dave Mason
David Thomas "Dave" Mason is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Worcester, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic...

 (formerly of Traffic
Traffic (band)
Traffic were an English rock band whose members came from the West Midlands. The group formed in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason...

). He was also known to Betty Cantor-Jackson, a Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...

 sound engineer
Audio engineering
An audio engineer, also called audio technician, audio technologist or sound technician, is a specialist in a skilled trade that deals with the use of machinery and equipment for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sounds. The field draws on many artistic and vocational areas, including...

. His first show with the Dead was October 19, 1971 at the Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. It is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system and has the fourth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 52,557...

, filling in for a hospitalized Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.

In 1972 and for much of his career, Godchaux played acoustic piano; however, he played the Fender Rhodes frequently in 1973 and 1974. During his tenure with the Dead his only written contribution and lead vocal was "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away," from Wake of the Flood
Wake of the Flood
Wake of the Flood is the sixth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August 4 and September 1, 1973 and originally released on October 15, 1973. It was the first release under the band's own label, Grateful Dead Records, after fulfilling their contract with Warner Bros. Records...

. It was only performed five times in 1973. Godchaux left the band 1979 and was replaced by Brent Mydland
Brent Mydland
Brent Mydland was the fourth keyboardist to play for the American rock band the Grateful Dead. He was with the band for eleven years, longer than any other keyboardist.- Early life :...


Godchaux incorporated a rudimentary and boogie
Boogie is a repetitive, swung note or shuffle rhythm, "groove" or pattern used in blues which was originally played on the piano in boogie-woogie music. The characteristic rhythm and feel of the boogie was then adapted to guitar, double bass, and other instruments. The earliest recorded...

-influenced piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 during his tenure with the Dead, complementing the band's improvisational
Musical improvisation
Musical improvisation is the creative activity of immediate musical composition, which combines performance with communication of emotions and instrumental technique as well as spontaneous response to other musicians...

 approach to rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

. Keith and Donna Godchaux also issued the mostly self-written Keith and Donna album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...

 in 1975 with Jerry Garcia as a member of their band. The album was recorded at their home in Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach, California
Stinson Beach is a census-designated place in Marin County, California, on the west coast of the United States. Stinson Beach is located east-southeast of Bolinas, at an elevation of 26 feet . The population of the Stinson Beach CDP was 632 at the 2010 census.Stinson Beach is about a 35-minute...

, where they lived in the 1970s. In turn, they performed as part of the Jerry Garcia Band
Jerry Garcia Band
The Jerry Garcia Band was a San Francisco Bay Area rock band led by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Garcia founded the band in 1975; it remained the most important of his various side-projects until his death in 1995...

. Subsequently, Godchaux co-wrote songs with Lowell George
Lowell George
Lowell Thomas George was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, who was the main guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Little Feat.- Early years :...

 (of Little Feat
Little Feat
Little Feat is an American rock band formed by singer-songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist Lowell George and keyboardist Bill Payne in 1969 in Los Angeles....

) and Robert Hunter
Robert Hunter (lyricist)
Robert C. Hunter is an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator, and poet, best known for his association with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.-Biography:He was born Robert Burns in San Luis Obispo, California...


After Godchaux's time with the Grateful Dead, he and his wife formed The Heart of Gold Band.

Godchaux died in an automobile accident in Marin County, California, in July 1980, at the age of 32.

External links

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