Jan Luby is known for her engaging, often riveting stage-presence as well as her voice full of passion, range and power.
Jan was a finalist in the Boston Acoustic Underground (Performing Songwriter) Competition in 1995. Her friends talked her into it...And since then has not entered contests until recently, when she was a semi-finalist in the RISA Songwriting Competition (2017). She was voted Female Vocalist of the year 2011 by Motif Magazine, nominated for Singer/Songwriter in 2012, and her song A Roof and Four Walls added to the success of the compilation album Everyone Needs a Home which won best Best Americana album that same year.
Jan's songs are evocative, lyrical and infectious personal stories. Her approach to songwriting ranges from socially relevant to irreverent, heartbreaking to humorous. Listen to songs off her most recent album on the music page. She is back in the studio recording her 3rd and 4th CDs (yes, she walks and chews gum!) One will be a collection of mother/daughter songs, the other a collection of everything else lying around her brain.
Jan and her two siblings were born on the road to Vaudeville parents (a comedy juggler and an acrobat/dancer). Growing up back stage, living in a trailer, and traveling through 47 states before the age of seven primed her for her later entrance into the West Coast New Vaudeville scene. But first her family landed in Coney Island, New York, where as a teenager she acted and danced in the Everyman Company and Chalk Circle Players.
At the age of 20 Jan Luby escaped New York to head west, eventually making a name for herself in Santa Cruz, California as a solo singer/songwriter. She was one of the founders of the Santa Cruz Street Performers Guild and its open mic at the Arts Center Theater. It was in Santa Cruz that she hooked up with the likes of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Tom Noddy (“The Bubble Guy”), Avner the Eccentric and many other New Vaudeville performers and formed the comedy-musical duo Girls Who Wear Glasses with her partner, Rebo Flordigan. As part of the New Vaudeville circuit, Jan played clubs, fairs and festivals including The Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Edmonton Folk Festivals, the Milwaukee Harvest Festival, Oregon Country Fair, The Bear Mountain Festival of Music and Dance, Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival and The San Francisco Vaudeville Festival.
As a solo performer Jan Luby is equally at home on a festival-stage in front of thousands as she is in more intimate settings, and has played coffeehouses, clubs, festivals and street-corners from Sweden to Greece and from New York to the Pacific Northwest. Upon moving to Boston/Cambridge in 1987, Jan helped to establish the open mic at the Nameless Coffeehouse. She has played all over New England, was a regular at the Old Vienna Kaffeehaus, performed at Club Passim, The Concord Inn, Tufts University, The Somerville Theatre, Johnny D's, and other coffeehouses and clubs in New England, sharing stages with Louden Wainwright III, Cheryl Wheeler, Bob Franke, Townes Van Sandt, Garnet Rogers, Lucie Blue Tremblay, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Vance Gilbert and many other noteworthy performers.
In more recent years, after a break from performing to focus on motherhood, Jan moved to Rhode Island and has performed at venues like the Stone Soup Coffeehouse, People's Voice Cafe in NYC, The Newport Sunset Music Series, the South Shore Folk Music Club and The Vanilla Bean.
She's presently on the board of the Rhode Island Songwriters Association and is one of the rotating hosts at the monthly RISA Songwriters in the Round show at AS220 in Providence, RI.
“Jan Luby was born for the stage. She is as comfortable there as any performer I have ever seen. The audience is somehow engaged by her before she sings or speaks a single word. And when she does step into her performance everyone knows that they are in the presence of a natural talent refined to perfection by years of experience. It's remarkable to witness.”
- Don White
"Jan Luby is one of the cutting edge, shining lights...A completely natural performer with a voice of anger, humor, warmth and beauty."
- Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary)
"...gut simple, killer songs and a very strong stage presence."
- Geoff Bartley
"Jan's originals definitely speak to us/for us/of us!"
- Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women
Nobody's Girl - 2011
"Jan Luby is a jewel of a singer-songwriter. Her new CD Nobody’s Girl showcases many of Luby’s organic, heart-felt translations of life into words and music. Luby infuses each of these songs with emotional honesty. Listeners will be certain to relate to what she is saying as they feel what she was feeling when she wrote and recorded these shiny true to life gems...Luby has come up with something truly special here. She makes many aspects of womanhood very realistic in her gritty, unforgiving details and emotional honesty. The music that supports her hearty themes are full of many nuanced melodies..."
Bill Copeland Music News
(full review at: http://www.billcopelandmusicnews.com/2011/12/jan-luby-pleases-ear-and-soul-with-new-cd-nobodys-girl/)
" Luby’s an accomplished songwriter, who makes the whole process sound as natural as breathing. She tells a good story, too, and most of them appear to be personal with their fair share of heartbreak and a little humour to sugar the pill. “Nobody’s Girl” is a pleasure from start to end...Put plainly, “Nobody’s Girl” is a fine collection that deserves its own award. Rhode Islanders take note – and everyone else, too."
(full review at: http://www.leicesterbangs.co.uk/nov11-25.html)
"I've always liked Jan Luby's voice, and her style. This is a wonderful batch of songs, and I look forward to seeing her perform them.
- Michael Doherty, Pop Culture Beast
(Full review at: http://www.kiowacountysignal.com/community/blogs/popculturebeast/x1866854878/Jan-Luby-Nobodys-Girl-2011-CD-Review)
"This is a well crafted work from a talented artist with lots of great songs."
- Deb Anderson, KZUM FM Radio
Tough Like a Weed - 2000
" Luby tells it like it is...All throughout, Luby's voice is engaging, emotive and candid...as close to perfection as can be. If the listener doesn't get goosebumps...they might want to double check themselves for a pulse."
- Michael Khouri, Northeast Performer
"Jan spins her tales of life and growing up using concrete images while slipping with ease from genre to genre. She has a remarkable ability to make you believe and remember." - Songwriters Monthly
...and now, direct from Coney Island, the Absolutely Tatooless Woman, Jan Luby - 1990
"Vibrant, conversational and fun...Her voice is explosive!"
Steve Ide, The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA
Push and Pull - 1989
"Wives is a great song...nice writing here..."
Ellen Guirleo, WUMB, Acoustic Images host
Hope: Mothers Helping Mothers - 2000
To benefit Project Hope
with Barbara Kessler, Eliza Gilyson, Suzzy Roche, Lori McKenna, Diane Zeigler, Tish Hinojosa, Karen Taylor Good and other musical mothers
Acoustic Alliance Volume 2 - 1995
Finalist in Acoustic Alliance Competition.
Song: Destination Unknown
"...particularly impressive" - Boston Globe
Old Vienna Tapes Volume 1 - 1992
Song: The Breastfeeding Song (Product of the 50s)
"Highlights include Jan Luby's Product of the 50s" - Sing Out
Boston Women's Voice - 1992
Fast Folk Musical Magazine - Boston Revisted - BMI 1992
Song: This Rocking Chair
Winter's Harvest - 1992
Song: John McCucheon's "Christmas in the Trenches"
"The most touching moment on the album comes when Jan Luby sings her acapella version of John McCucheon's Christmas in the Trenches."
- Steve Hurlbutt, Jamaica Plains Arts News
Santa Cruz Family Album
Song: The Quail Song
"Jan Luby wins honors with a country pretty voice that suggests a lot of soul."
-Mark Hunter, Santa Cruz Express