Born in Bar Harbor, Maine, Jude Johnstone began writing songs at about age 8. At 18, she was “discovered” by E-Street Band saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. After spending some time in New York and New Jersey under his wing, in 1979, she moved to Los Angeles, where her songs quickly became sought after by other artists. She has been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Johnny Cash, Stevie Nicks, Mary Black, Stephen Bishop, Jennifer Warnes, Trisha Yearwood and more, including a #1 song for Yearwood’s debut album called “The Woman Before Me” which earned her a BMI award. Her songs then appeared on eight more Yearwood albums. She also penned the title track to Johnny Cash’s 1997 Grammy winning album “Unchained.”
In 2002 Johnstone released her own debut CD “Coming of Age” on BoJak Records. The album received critical acclaim leading to an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition and reached #6 on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. It also featured guest vocals by Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Yearwood, and others. Her sophomore cd “On A Good Day” generated more favorable press which led to a performance on CBS’s “The Early Show.” It, too, featured memorable guest vocals from Browne and Raitt as well as Rodney Crowell & Julie Miller.
Her third and fourth cds “Blue Light” and “Mr. Sun” were both jazz/blues inspired projects recorded LIVE in the studio with some of LA’s top session musicians. On “Quiet Girl”, her fifth release, she returned to the Americana flavor of her earlier work. The album featured collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Jimmy LaFave, J.D. Souther, and her late mentor, Clarence Clemons. Jude’s 6th album “Shatter” combined elements of Gospel, Jazz, Celtic, R&B and even Big Band influences. Her latest release “A Woman’s Work” may well be her most personal collection ever, with a strong emphasis on the female perspective. It is a raw and unapologetic study of love, loss and sacrifice as seen through a female lens.
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“If Jude Johnstone is not yet a musical household name, she sure as hell should be.”
Henry Carrigan, No Depression
“Turning emotional pain into art is a tricky business.
Sometimes I wonder if the end result is worth it.
Jude Johnstone makes a good case that it is.”
“There are certain artists whose songs go so deep it’s
like they’re heart surgeons…Jude Johnstone has been
able to do all that, and more, for so many years, it’s
almost like she has a patent on it.”
The Morton Report
“Jude Johnstone’s ability to fashion the stuff of lifeseasoned
emotions into handsomely crafted, lyrically
attractive song fare is as remarkable as it is reliable”
“…could be one of the best things
you hear this year!”