“I felt the lyrics of songs coming through her hands – I could hear Judy singing through her guitar.”
“Judy Fjell is full of energy, full of joy. Not only does she make you want to sing, she makes you want to live!”
Singer-Songwriter Judy Fjell is definitely “one-of-a-kind.” Not only are her musical gifts considerable, but they are easily matched by her generosity and energy as a performer and social activist. In addition, there’s no shortage of humor in her concerts or her workshops. Audiences may find themselves laughing about things they never knew were funny, or thinking about things in a new light, thanks to her stories and songs. Some of her lyrics and guitar solos quietly carry listeners to the wide open spaces of Montana. Others convey a strong message for compassion and justice - for the planet and for the human race.
Judy’s career began as a young teenager in her small Montana home town when she bought a garage sale guitar and began performing some of her favorites from the “Hootenanny!” radio program for the Lutheran Ladies’ Aid and American Legion Auxiliary. By the time she was in her thirties she had become an established songwriter on the folk and women’s circuits on the West coast and was performing in coffeehouses, taverns, concert venues, festival stages, and fundraisers across the country. She has sung for San Francisco peace marches, NOW conferences (even one in Las Vegas!), Montana Cowboy Poetry Gatherings, GLBT Pride in Boise, New York City coffeehouses, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, the Northwest Regional Folklife festival in Seattle, rural school students in northern California, senior citizens in Carmel, Unitarian-Universalist fellowships, Methodist churches, women’s spirituality groups, concerts in Japan working against domestic violence . . .
It’s been quite a ride! Most recently she has begun to write and perform guitar solos which are featured on her latest CD, Goin’ Over Home. In addition to performing her own work, Judy often collaborates with Malvina Reynolds’ daughter, Nancy Schimmel, in “An Evening of Malvinaspirit.”
Judy has written over two hundred songs and has recorded 18 albums on her own label, Honey Pie Music, since 1980. She has a well-earned reputation as a multi-level “Musical Activist,” having empowered hundreds to find their singing voices. She is the founding director of Music Empowerment Camps (since 1986), Women Making Music Retreats (since 1991), the Canta Bella Women’s Chorus (since 1996), the Montana Women’s Chorus (since 1997), and currently directs the Helena chapter of the Montana Women’s Chorus.