I have been a songwriter all my life.


I grew up learning violin with the Suzuki method, playing medieval recorder and harpsichord with my dad, and played the clarinet in the school band, but what I really wanted all along was a guitar. I formed my first band in Wicker Park, in Chicago, in the mid 90s. That place and time was wide open and wild. Phyllis’s Musical Inn, The Rainbo, Double Door,  and The Bop Shop (where I was a cocktail waitress on Saturday nights) were all along a concrete stretch with potholes so large car bumpers would fall off and stay in them. I played my first gig ever at the Subterranean, standing on a strip of wood behind the bar that made up a stage, shaky knees, playing my homemade songs while the El, Chicago’s antique elevated train, rattled across overhead every 5 minutes. It was a rough and unpolished neighborhood, but vibrant. Women were entering the rock and americana scene with enough regularity we probably didn’t notice how unbalanced our presence was in event lineups. I produced regular Grrrls Rock evening at the Beat Kitchen, and fronted two bands, Sweet Bridget and Kite Club.

When I moved to a small village on the Seine River just south of Paris, France in 2005, I thought my rock life was behind me. I had sold all of our furniture and most of my equipment before leaving Chicago, though I brought a telecaster and an acoustic takamine, and two Fender amps to France. One day in our little stone house, I picked up my guitar and began all over again, writing songs. Because the music scene is so different in France, with influences and hierarchies new to me, I felt free to do whatever I wanted. I wrote songs with quirky characters, engaged in conversation, love, betrayal, politics. I wrote about America, about my life with a new perspective of seeing how it unfolded from a far. I have written hundreds of songs, and recorded 4 records. The songwriters who influence me share a sense of purpose, are daring, and true to their own work. Liz Phair, Leonard Cohen, Aimee Mann, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lucinda Williams and Alanis Morissette have all taught me about songwriting. In 2017 I toured the USA west coast from San Diego to Seattle, met producer JL Espada and wrote a set of new songs. In 2018 Espada recorded my collection called “Becoming.” I love working and living between France and the U.S.

I grew up on the coast of Maine in a town made up of three islands and a peninsula. Every direction ends up at the sea, and all trips required crossing at least one bridge. My childhood was far away from everything, remote, and lonely enough to develop a lifesaving imagination. I read books, made art, played a variety of instruments. I got a lot of my information about the world beyond my own from television. I remember seeing David Bowie, who I had never heard of, on Saturday Night Live, and thinking, “Thank God. There are my people.” I have lived in the UK, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Spain, before moving to Chicago for graduate school at The School of the Art Institute. There I painted, worked in the foundry, and studied sound. I also started my first band ‘Salt Lick’ while I was a student.

I work in education as a professor and eLearning developer. I have always had a double life, professional and musical, and to keep all the balls in the air, I am very organized. Besides performing in Paris and long weekend tours around Europe, I have co-founded MUSEfest, to amplify the work of excellent women in music and film. I am raising two smart children, each one so different from the other. My kids and husband are proud of what I do, and support my musical journey, though I am sure they wish I had more time for them. I keep my eye on what is important, and I cut out things that don’t serve me. I am extremely goal oriented, but I never rest on my laurels. I am always reaching for the next new experience.  

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The Back Room

20374562_10211855173808507_7222507132022080663_nA quick glance through my current set reveals repeated themes of both hard landings, and birds in flight.

When you open up your eyes, for the second time, baby, brace yourself. Its happening now.” (From a song I wrote the day after a recent election).

The messenger says take what you can, cause your days are numbered and the sun is just a big time bomb. Here we are.” From my optimistic song of landing, “Here we are.”

Silhouette in the doorway, slurring words. Don’t know what to say so I run my fingers through those bad boy curls. As if snakes were birds”.  From “Daniel.”

For more lyrics and original alt-folk, americana music come out to The Back Room, Thursday Aug. 10,  8pm. Also performing, my long-time hero and local legend, Tom Heyman, a wonderful, hard hitting songwriter and performer.

Tickets $15 in advance /$18 at the door.

The Back Room
1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information, or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808.


En route | Bay Area room with a view

Each morning I wake up and walk outside to one of the more expansive views taking in the whole bay in one breath, from Marin to the Golden Gate Bridge to the southern tip of San Francisco. In the morning the fog rolls in and up. At dusk, the fireball settles into the mountains and pulses for a moment before tipping back, leaving us with night when the lights from the city flicker like fireflies in sequins.

My long time friend Brian Axel opened for me in San Francisco. He plays open tuning, spacious and spiritual blues that transformed Amnesia from music bar into a cathedral. This folks at Amnesia were friendly and kind, and the crowd came in from the rain and lingered. The next night we shared a bill at Bocci’s in Santa Cruz. I loved the drive down the coast. Before the show I took a spin around town, saw the campus, the llama farms, the hidden world out back, beach houses, watched some world class surfers, and the sun setting over the Pacific.  The crowd was small, tattooed, raucous, loaded, generous, interactive, funny. I love Santa Cruz.

Eight more dates to go! I perform solo, creating rhythm tracks and harmony in live loops of breathy beats and scratchy strums, to accompany my own lead vocal. All original songs, based on poetic lyrical structure, like Leonard Cohen or Patti Smith, grounded with electric guitar. My vocals have been compared to Cat Power, Aimee Mann, and Liz Phair. If you are around any of the follow places and times, please come!

Tue. Mar 14, Eugene OR, The Boreal
Wed. Mar 15, Portland OR, White Eagle
Fri Mar 17, Olympia WA, House concert
Sun Mar 19 Seattle WA, Blue Moon Tavern
Mon Mar 20, Olympia WA. Le Voyeur
Tues March 21, Ashland OR, Oberons
Sat. Mar 25, Los Angeles CA, Hollowbody at Bar 20
Sun Mar 26, San Diego CA, LeStats West

Follow at https://www.facebook.com/HannahJudsonMusic/

Seattle to San Diego ParadiseKite Tour| 03.2017

Dear Friends,mapcoast

I have concerts coming up along the west coast from Seattle to San Diego in March. I’ll be performing original songs on telecaster with harmonies of live loops of breathy beats and scratchy strums, to accompany my own lead vocal.  I am sharing bills with some amazing musicians, friends and former bandmates.

March 4 San Francisco (Amnesia Music Hall). With Brian Axel.

March 5 Santa Cruz (Bocci’s). With Brian Axel.

March 14 Eugene (Boreal). With Far Flung Birds.

March 15 Portland (White Eagle). With Dan Colbert

March 17 Olympia (Obsidian)

March 19 Seattle (Blue Moon). With Claire Michelle and Spencer Carlson

March 20 Olympia (Le Voyeur). With Elle Carpenter and Guidon Bear

March 21 Ashland (Oberons). With Steve Petrovic

March 25 Los Angeles (Hollowbody LA Bar 20). With Jennifer Chase

March 26 San Diego (LeStats West)

Here is a link to Here We Are, a track from our soon to be released studio album Saint Paul on Saturday.

Fingers crossed I see you there. If not, please pass along the info to your west coast friends. Stay strong, kind and humming along to your unique song.

Hannah xOxO