Donna Geddes | Speakeasy

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Jazz: Retro Swing Blues: Rhythm & Blues Moods: Solo Female Artist
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by Donna Geddes

“Murdered lovers; dancing fools; cool cats, hip chicks and the occasional host of angels. These are just some of the characters waiting to meet you on Donna Geddes’ sparkling debut CD “Speakeasy”. Goes down like fresh-squeezed lemonade on a Hot July Day."
Genre: Jazz: Retro Swing
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Be Careful
4:13 $0.99
2. Nobody
2:40 $0.99
3. Three Cool Cats
3:00 $0.99
4. Time Heals
3:12 $0.99
5. Vivienne
3:21 $0.99
6. Rhumba Girl
3:27 $0.99
7. Love Me If You Must
3:25 $0.99
8. Angel Train
3:42 $0.99
9. Vignette / Come Easy Go Easy Love
3:28 $0.99
10. Benediction
4:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Donna Geddes is having her Cinderella moment. But it’s been a lifetime in the making as she releases her debut CD Speakeasy. “It’s like being Cinderella in the corner and then your fairy Godmother taps you on the shoulder and tells you ‘It’s your turn to go to the ball,’” says Donna. “I’m just in awe!”

Speakeasy is “bluesy, old school jazz with a modern attitude,” she says. “My heart has always been in this kind of music. It’s what really grooves for me.”

Key session players, including brothers whose uncle “Guitar Boogie” Smith co-wrote the bluegrass hit Dueling Banjos, complement Donna’s smooth, solid vocals, Speakeasy features “all veteran Nashville sidemen,” says Donna. “Very much in demand. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

•Bobby Ogdin -- legendary session player on keyboards
•Dennis Solee -- sets the tone on sax and clarinet
•Tony Creasman & Bob Mater -- share drumming duties
•Tim Smith -- bass guitarist and co-producer
•Roddy Smith -- guitar, the brothers are members of Boots Randolph’s band
•Barry Crompton -- acoustic guitar, songwriter and producer
•Billy Contrerras -- soulful fiddle player
•Jimmy Dulin -- quick-fingered engineer
•Deb Thomas -- outstanding backup vocals, harmony

And like the fairytale, the road traveled for Donna has had its ups and downs. Donna’s visions of recording began when she was a child growing up on her grandparents’ farm in Brandenburg, KY, singing the show tunes of Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Julie Andrews. She honed her talent working the festival circuit and local venues in Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and Arizona.

Donna remembers being a young, single mother of three, “I didn’t have any money. I was staying up two nights a week to do my studies when the kids were asleep. I had to practice my music in the evening and my neighbor would ring my phone if it got more than one minute past nine.

“I had always wanted to get a guitar but I could never find one I liked the sound of that I actually could afford,” Donna, who formed her own country-rock band Iron Rose during the 80s, recalls. “Then one day, I was in the music shop and they got this new line of guitars – Honers – you know, the harmonica folks. well, it was just the best sounding thing.” And Donna was off to the ball.

But life had other plans for Donna; while nursing vocal nodules, which kept her from singing for two years, Donna remained creative by working with a local filmmaker and that led to working on the film Next of Kin. Headlined by
Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze and, then, unknowns, Helen Hunt, Liam Neeson, Bill Paxton and Ben Stiller, “I was more excited about meeting Jean Ritchie who is legendary among folk musicians,” remembers Donna. “Can you believe I actually turned Patrick down when he asked me to dance? It was so unexpected I just said ‘no!’” Just like Cinderella at the big dance.

She did, however, finally cut a rug with Patrick, ironically to I Had The Time of My Life. And, at a late night party on the set, Donna found her voice again. “The best thing that came out of working on the film was I discovered I could sing again. My voice was different, and it was raspy, but it was there.”

And thus were the beginnings of Speakeasy, going from fairytale to reality.



to write a review

Ashley Valentine

Music for music lovers. Every day, every season.
Arresting vocals, unbelievable instrumentals and story-telling lyrics pull eleven tracks into an unforgettably enjoyable album. These songs are for music lovers young and old.

If you want a good taste of this album, just listen to the first track. Piano, clarinet and a perfect drum beat set the scene with a slick and mysterious toon- “Be Careful.” You will groove to “Three Cool Cats” and “Rhumba Girl” and keep it moving with “Nobody” and “Angel Train.” The haunting story of “Vivienne” is encouraged by a moving Spanish guitar melody. For a real treat, listen to the classic cover of "Come Easy, Go Easy Love" with a creative intro that pulls your heart right into the song.

I must admit my favorites on the CD are Donna’s ballads “Love Me If You Must” and “Benediction” which prove that piano and Donna make a fabulous duo!

Listen to Donna’s story in her debut CD and it just might become your story when the music stays with you all throughout your days.

Jack Ratzsch

Singer Donna Geddes Harkens To An Earlier Time
For anyone who says none does music like they did back “in the day” and for those who say the region is lacking in musical talent needs to give a listen to Donna Geddes and her CD Speakeasy (Dragonfly 1357). Donna has a smooth, silky voice and will quickly remind you of starlight ballroom days where a tall, striking woman stood behind one of those big microphones crooning tunes while well dressed men and women danced cheek to cheek. Her choice of tunes range from Hoagy Carmichael to Leiber & Stoller and many recent tunes written in the classic style. One particular cover that jumped out at me was a Jesse Winchester tune “Rhumba Girl”. “Angel Train” will quickly have you thinking Andrews Sisters. I do wish Donna would have let a bluesy side really come out in “Time Heals”. All in all, a strong effort for this very talented lady. You see, they do still make ‘em they way they used to!
Jack Ratzsch is a 25 year radio veteran, longtime musician, studio and live audio engineer and general lover of all musical forms. He can be reached at


Donna Geddes - Speakeasy = quite the refreshing album!
Give this CD a listen - the sound is refreshing and genuine - most definitely a far cry from the cookie cutter music that permeates the billboards these days.

The songs are softly quaint, and produce rich harmonic colors of instrumentation, melted beautifully with charming vocals.

The sax player in these songs is quite gifted, as is the pianist. This is Donna's first professionally made album, and I've been recommending it to my friends as a prime example of talent overlooked by the major labels. I can see some of these songs finding their way to a movie soundtrack one of these days - they have that kind of sound to them - unobtrusive, very pleasing to the ears and very unique from the garbage that the major labels call music.

This is great American bluesy/folksy music, folks! Check out the song samples!