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Jan Luby

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Folk, with dabblings in blues, and even a glimmer of jazz.


Most recent release, Nobody's Girl (2011)

See also:

Jan Luby's site


Luby's music has much in common with a number of folk artists I have heard, but no specific names come to mind offhand. (

She has a Joan Baez style, with the story-telling ability of early Dar Williams, but an earthier voice than either. (

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional covers

General comments:

Some of the best music I have heard has been done by independent artists—many of them local—performing in coffeehouses. Luby would fit in there. She clearly cares more about self-expression than about commercialism, and that's a good thing. To be honest, I find some other coffeehouse artists more energizing than she, but fans of the particular kind of music that she does will find much to like. She definitely is an artist in development. (

Recommended first album:

tough like a weed is the only one we've heard


tough like a weed

Release info:

2000—Luetta Music—JL0004


See website

Ecto priority:

On the low side of moderate

Group members:

Jan Luby—vocal, guitar

Guest artists:

Frances GallopAway—violin, string arrangement
Tim Tompkins—cello, string arrangement
Tom Casale—bass
Matt Woodburn—guitar, bass
Cheryl Arena—harmonica
Russell Lane—drums
Scott Shetler—tenor sax, baritone sax, horn arrangement
Geoff Bartley—guitar
Matt Levinworth—fiddle
Michael Khouri—bass
Laurie Goldsmith—bongas, conga drum

Produced by:

Jan Luby


Luby is, first and foremost, an acoustic folk singer. Some tracks are backed by strings or brass. She shows a laudable stylistic variety. There is a fair amount of social commentary in some of her songs, but it never gets top-heavy. It shows through rather clearly that many of her songs are rooted in her own experiences. I believe she has a good future within her particular genre. (

Jan Luby certainly has integrity, talent and ambition: She tackles a wide musical spectrum on this album, always with her heart in the right place. The problem is, her talent doesn't always match her ambition, and her ambition is sometimes misplaced. There's much to enjoy on this album—"Destination Unknown" is an instant ecto classic, and there's even a touch of Ani DiFranco on "Stranger", another highlight, but there are a few tracks—ranging from the twee to the overly earnest—that should just be put down to experience (or lack of). On the whole the effect is a patchy one, with Jan never quite finding her own voice or a style that she can truly call her own and feel comfortable in. Despite the flaws, this shows lots of promise—I look forward to hearing her talent develop. (

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2012-05-14 20:49:15.
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