My new CD, DEVILS NEVER CRY, now available! Shipping is free. For a full set of lyrics visit my Music and/or Lyrics pages.
I'm so glad you're visiting my website. If you landed here because we met somewhere and you liked my music--thank you! If you came by to listen for the first time--I'm happy you found me and hope you like what you hear. I would love to know what you think so feel free to drop me a note or leave a message on my contact page. The music on this site features cuts from my 2014 debut CD, "Without You" and songs from my 2016 release, "Devils Never Cry".
I've been immersed for most of my life in ‘60s folk and vintage country. I love continuing to explore music that has emerged since that time, especially contemporary melodic and lyrical territory. There is an ever-evolving treasure trove of mind-blowing music out there that I feel inspired by every day. I adore Sharon Van Etten, PJ Harvey, Beck,The National, Thom Yorke, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Iris Dement, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Hazel Dickens, Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips, and on and on. Songwriting for me is deeply personal, a way to deal with life by finding words and tunes that somehow capture or evoke life's uncertainties, doubts, and losses but also it's joy, love, and wisdom. At the very least I hope my songs connect to you in some way and that you feel a little bit better off for having listened to them.
Here’s what others have said about my music.
"Judy Banker is emerging as a premier songwriter with universal appeal. A singular unique talent and stage presence...that is organic and soul-driven, Banker writes songs with a more creatively complex vision. Her new CD, Devils Never Cry, is a complete compendium of the twists and turns anyone might face, turned into a delightful and at times heart-weary mix of cautionary tales and tonics for the troops. Several of the songs on this could be considered classics." Michael G. Nastos, Pulp Magazine Online, 88.3 WCBN-FM Ann Arbor, Founding member & Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award, Southeast Michigan Jazz Association
"Ann Arbor singer/songwriter, Judy Banker, writes songs rooted in vintage country style. Torch songs rife with intrepid melodic lines that twist and turn in delightful, unexpected ways, yet stay true to the genre. Her voice, tangy and bright as fall cider, brings to life articulate, arresting songs of lost love and the perfidy of human nature. Reminiscent of Loretta Lynn and Rose Maddox, Judy Banker's music remains contemporary, rich in everything the modern listener appreciates about old-time country music." Maggie Ferguson, host of WXOU's The Old Front Porch Radio Show and Live! From the Living Room Acoustic Showcase
“The lyrics of Judy’s songs sound effortless and conversational and then you realize as you’re listening that your eyes are hot and something warm is running down your face. You’ll want to listen to this album (Without You) many times…you’ll surely feel more alive. “ Johnny Williams, owner of Johnny’s Speakeasy, Ann Arbor, MI
“Judy Banker...a monster singer/songwriter talent… Classic folk-style guitar…remarkably rich and nuanced. With a flexible voice that moves from a sultry tenor to a crystal clear soprano depending on the mood of the song, melodies flow seemingly effortlessly from her as she sings. It’s also great to see how much fun Banker has on stage. Find an opportunity to go see her, you will love every minute of it.” John Bayerl, SeMiBluegrass.com
First and foremost, I love playing with my band! I've had the good fortune of living in a town filled with some of the most talented musicians around, and I landed a few of them as my musical compatriots---Tony Pace (Cold Tone Harvest) on dobro and electric guitar, Brian Williams (Cold Tone Harvest) on drums, and the ubiquitous, talented Dave Roof on background vocals, bass and lead guitar. Dave also served as engineer and producer of both my CDs at this studio Rooftop Recording in Grand Blanc, MI. Other wonderful musicians who have guest starred in the band are John Sperendi (bass), Alan Pagliere (pedal steel), and Emily Slomovits (fiddle). Many of these friends performed on my recordings. I expect to head back into the studio before the end of this year to work on my next CD.
I'm still playing and singing with my dear friend and longtime music partner Jay Stielstra, widely known as a Michigan songwriting treasure. It's an honor to be able to perform Jay's iconic folk songs. Check out Jay's music at http://www.facebook.com/jaystielstra.
In the past couple of years, I’ve been playing and singing a lot in a country/americana duo with my friend Ed Dupas (eddupas.com). We share a love of traditional country and, along with our own originals, we always include a little Dolly and Merle as well as Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams and Gillian Welch in our repertoire.
Again, I would love to hear from you! I'm interested in what you think of my music and any ideas you have for venues we might play in your area. Roam around on this site. Hope you enjoy it --- and come back often!!
And of course I play solo, too. One of my favorite formats is playing songwriter-in-the-round Nashville style performances with songwriter friends.
At the other end of things I've recently been trying my hat as a talent buyer for a local venue, booking the weekend live music at Zou Zou's Cafe in Chelsea, a beautiful little town just outside of Ann Arbor. If you want to play at Zou Zou's, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Folk music was my first love and I found myself performing songs like Greenback Dollar and House of the Rising Sun with friends and alone, anywhere there was an audience. I met and married John Sayler, the love of my life, in the mid-80's. John had a serious penchant for music collections and played the guitar and dobro, so it was a match made in heaven. We played music together throughout our marriage, in our living room, at weddings for friends and family, sometimes on a stage or two. Our happiest musical experience was playing in the trio of our good friend Jay Stielstra since 2008.
John suffered a massive heart attack in the spring of 2012 and we lost him. Throughout the time since, singing, songwriting, playing guitar and performing with Jay and other friends has kept me sane. My new CD, Without You, is dedicated to John. The songs I wrote for that CD are songs of love and loss---for John and others who have gone on yet remain a part of my heart. It will remain an expression of what these people meant and continue to mean to me.
Music is there through the good times and the hard times.
And there will be music in the days ahead.