Jane Godfrey

The whole scoop:

 Jane Godfrey has been playing the guitar since she was eleven and singing harmonies with her sisters and brothers since further back than memory serves her. Jane was a shy middle child growing up in a household of nine siblings, where music and art were staples whether at home in St. Louis or at the family cabin in Minnesota. Although Jane didn’t realize it at the time, traditions like family sing-alongs and music jams with her siblings were the foundation on which her songwriting imagination was built. Eventually, after getting married, three children, two college degrees and work as an educator of the hearing-impaired and deaf, Jane quit her job and began pursuing creative interests. She tried her hand at creating educational materials and greeting cards while dabbling in songwriting. Just after finishing her first song, in an auspicious twist of fate, a Girl Scout Leaders magazine with an ad for a songwriting contest arrived in the mail. So Jane wrote three more songs and submitted them. Thank You Ms Juliette, a bluegrass tribute to the founder of the Girl Scouts, won the contest and Jane’s recording was included in the GSUSA’s 2000 CD, Sisters Hand in Hand. In the meantime, always the late-bloomer, Jane realized she had finally found her calling. Jane’s passion for songwriting grew, prompting road-trips to Nashville where her skills were nurtured by attending songwriting workshops and performing at writers’ showcases, including the infamous Bluebird Café. Her original intention was to write for other artists because standing on stage and performing for others was both dream and nightmare for Jane. But realizing that she needed to overcome her crippling performance anxiety in order to get her songs heard, she hit the open mics. To keep herself from giving in to the critics in her head, Jane adopted the philosophy, “Do it badly until it’s good”. Jane’s first real solo gig coincided with her 50th birthday! Then after being encouraged by audience members, Jane hit the studio, bringing in her siblings for instrumental backup, vocal harmonies, and moral support. 

Jane's 2007 release, Choose Beauty, is a collection of songs honoring the ordinary and revealing the beauty and little truths in everyday life. It showcases strong melodies in an eclectic mix of folk, rock and a little Western swing. As Jane's lyrics demonstrate, she possesses both a poetic sensibility, influenced by literary songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin; and drawing inspiration from John Prine and Steve Goodman, a knack for storytelling with a subtle sense of humor. The CD’s final track, Finally Loving Myself, was included, along with songs from Paul Williams, Mary Gauthier and Jon Vezner, in Gracie Vandiver’s 2008 Prism Award winning CD, Trail of Light. Ten years later, another song from the album, Ordinary Prayer, was solicited by Leanne Magnusun Latuda for choral arrangement, and subsequently arranged for choir by Adam Maness. In a dream performance for Jane, she sang Ordinary Prayer in the historic Third Baptist Church with accompaniment and back up by the The Women's Hope Chorale of St. Louis. 

Within fours years after her debut CD Jane experienced the loss of her mother, her sister and a close friend. With a heightened awareness of life around her, Jane slowly but steadily worked through her grief with a sometimes wavering but renewed sense of purpose. Never imagining that it would be many years before she compiled the best of her songs into another album, Jane dug in and opened further her soul, writing songs around topics that matter deeply to her. The added depth and heart of Jane’s writing is apparent in her 2019 release, Imagine We Have Wings, where, again, she called on her siblings for backup instrumentals and harmonies. Imagine We Have Wings is an album that bears witness to Jane's love and understanding of the human condition.    

Proudly embracing the moniker “Bravest of introverted entertainers”, Jane writes and performs in the self-titled genre of "Urban Campfire Cabaret". She performs locally and nationally as a solo artist, as half of the duo, “CatBird” with Chicago singer/songwriter, Sue Fink, and on occasion with her siblings in “The Murphy Family Band”. 

 

A measured portion:

St. Louis singer/songwriter Jane Godfrey writes songs that honor the ordinary and reveal the beauty and little truths in everyday life. Her songs showcase strong melodies and an eclectic mix of folk, bluegrass, blues, rock, and beyond. She possesses both a poetic sensibility, influenced by literary songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin, and, drawing inspiration from John Prine and Steve Goodman, a knack for storytelling with a subtle sense of humor.  Jane’s songwriting skills were nurtured growing up in a large family of artists and musicians.  She honed her craft in Nashville, at songwriting workshops and writers’ showcases, including the infamous Bluebird Cafe.  Jane received validation early in her songwriting career when her song, Thank You Ms Juliette, a bluegrass tribute to Juliette Lowe, the founder of the Girl Scouts, was included in the Girl Scouts of the USA’s CD, Sisters Hand in Hand.  Jane’s song, Finally Loving Myself, is included on Nashville songwriter Gracie Vandiver’s recovery music CD, Trail of Light, alongside such songwriting greats as Paul Williams, Jon Vezner and Mary Gauthier. Jane has two CDs out, Choose Beauty (2007) and Imagine We Have Wings (2019). Proudly embracing the moniker Bravest of introverted entertainers, Jane writes and performs in her self-titled genre of Urban Campfire Cabaret. She performs locally and nationally as a solo artist, as half of the duo, “CatBird” with Chicago singer/songwriter, Sue Fink, and occasionally with her siblings in “The Murphy Family Band”. 

In a nutshell:

"Unapologetic folk artist. Bravest of introverted entertainers" 

-- Dr. Ellen Ranney