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".
Grounded in ‘60s folk and vintage country I like to explore contemporary melodic and lyrical territory creating a distinctive sound grounded in the familiar. I write songs as a way to deal with life--with uncertainty, doubts, and loss but also to find ways to express joy, love, and compassion. I hope that my songs help the listener end up feeling that they understand themselves and others just a little bit better.
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
Songwriting is an intensely personal experience for me. Although I’ve been writing songs here and there for years, I didn’t really throw myself into it until life forced my hand through life-changing loss. Writing and performing my songs became my singular channel for expressing, processing, and trying to heal. My first project, “Without You”, a full length CD of original songs, was solely a result of a tipping point I experienced with the sudden loss of my beloved husband, John, in 2012. It came on the heels of other losses and impacted me in a way that drove me to songwriting in an attempt to capture the core of what it’s like for us to live on without the one/s we love. If we live long enough and love deeply enough, this kind of loss is something that happens to all of us, one way or another. And in many cases we are impossibly unprepared for it.
While “Without You” features some warm love songs, at its core the CD is a lamentation. I call it my “wailing wall”.
In 2016 I released my second full length CD, "Devils Never Cry". I’m really happy with the sound that is emerging through this recent project, thanks to the wonderful musician friends who helped to make it all happen—David Roof (producer/engineer/owner Rooftop Recording Studio); Greta Mae Barnard (fiddle and background vocals); Tony Pace (dobro/lap steel); and Stuart Tucker (percussion).
The writing on this CD steps back a bit from the wailing wall to dig into what makes love/closeness tick or fall apart. The mystery of human emotion has always fascinated me. So much so that I’ve spent decades as a psychotherapist, listening and working with people brought to their knees by difficult struggles in relationships with themselves and others. The struggles I write about are the ones that fascinate me the most--- the complex spectrum of emotional quandaries that don’t have easy answers; the experiences and dilemmas that are messy and make us dig deep.
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.
I also play with my friend Bill Edwards, both as a duo and in his full band (edwardsongs.com), singing and playing on Bill's finely crafted country originals. I am honored to provide background vocals on a few of the songs on Bill's newly released outstanding country music CD, “Here Lately”.
And last but definitely not least I’ve been playing and singing with my friend Ed Dupas (eddupas.com) both as a duo and soon in his band as he prepares for the release of his second CD, “Tennessee Night”. I had the pleasure of singing background vocals on one of the cuts on this CD, “Heading Home Again”. Ed is one of my favorite songwriters and I expect this CD to go places!
sign up on my email list so I can send you the latest updates on gigs and other news. 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!!
Here’s what people are saying about Judy’s music:
"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; host of Live!
From the Living Room Acoustic Showcase concert series, Auburn Hills, Michigan
"The lyrics 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, Michigan
"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, Bay City, Michigan
“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.
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.