MUSIC & musical projects
Judy Banker hit the Michigan songwriting scene with the release of her debut full length album, Without You in 2014.
A collection of original songs, Without You digs into the experience of human relationships, love and loss and living on without people we have loved. Judy's second full-length album, Devils Never Cry, released to positive reviews in June 2016. Now playing on Spotify, iHeart Radio and other regional and international radio stations, Devils Never Cry is available on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon as well as through this website. Remaining unvarnished and personal, Judy's songwriting continues to evolve on her third studio album, Buffalo Motel, January 2020 release with arrangements and melodies that take on an edgier, more layered indie/country/rock sound.
Live performances combine Judy's original songs with inspired covers that cross genres. Judy appears with a full band including multi-instrumentalist Dave Roof who adds sublime harmonies,Tony Pace on dobro and electric guitar, Brian Williams on drums, John Sperendi on electric & upright bass and Alan Pagliere on pedal steel; solo; or with one or more band members in duo, trio & quartet setup.
Along with her own songwriting and recording, Judy is involved in several other music projects. In 2019, Judy was given exclusive permission by the estate of folk legend, the late Pete Seeger, to compose and record a musical arrangement to Blessed Be The Nation, a poem written by Pete Seeger and Jim Mussleman (1964). That recording is available for free download on this website on the "Pete Seeger Project" page. You can also find out more about the project on facebook.com/blessedbethenation.
Judy continues to perform regularly with treasured Michigan songwriter and playwright, Jay Stielstra (reverbnation.com/jaystielstra), her music partner since 2008 and in duos, trios and in-the-round performances with other songwriter friends.
Here’s what people are saying about Judy’s songwriting and sound:
Judy Banker is...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
If you enjoy heartfelt melodies combined with great song-writing, then you need to listen to Judy Banker. There were times when I was reminded of Tammy Wynette, Sammi Smith, and Dottie West. Chuck Marshall, Life In Michigan Online, Aug. 2016
The lyrics on Judy's album Without You 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 many times…you’ll surely feel more alive. Johnny Williams, owner of Johnny's Speakeasy, Ann Arbor
Judy Banker's sweet Americana Folk album "Without You" nearly makes a listener wish for a breakup or fresh-risen memories of a lost love. Trish Lewis, host of WUCX-FM's Eclectic Chair
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, November 2015