Jan Buckingham grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, just outside St. Louis, which is very near Wentzville, MO, home of Chuck Berry. When Jan was 13, she was litening to DJ Wolfman Jack on the radio and heard her first Chuck Berry song, Nadine. Her life has never been the same since.
Jan's dad was an FBI agent for 30 years, which made Jan have to be a good girl ("or your father will get transferred") in high school, and it also made her wilder than a March hare and preacher's kid combined in college, which is when Jan rode her 500 Triumph scramble bike (motor cycle) from Missouri to California at age 19, "because it sounded like a good idea at the time."
Jan's mom, Hattie, from Hayti, MO, used to sing her old handed down cotton field songs as lullabies, and neighbor Carl LaRue used to hide outside just underneath the bedroom window, holding his nose to keep from laughing out loud as he listened to songs like THE CLAPBOARD ROOF AND THE PUNCHEON FLOOR. Jan has included three of these public domain songs on her album as a tribute to her roots, and to salute a long lost time back when folks trusted their neighbors and your
word was your bond. As her mom always told her, "You come from good stock."
Jan wrote her first song at age 8 and her second shortly after divorcing her first X-husband. The song, which has never yet been played publicly, was titled I'D RATHER BE DRINKING WINE.
Jan finished college like a good girl should, flew around the world for a couple of years as a flight attendant, and then taught school for a few years (so all that college education wouldn't be wasted). After that, Jan became a staff writer for Warner Chappell, Lorimar Music, and Windswept Pacific. Jan lived a double life for many years, as she also flew for another airline as a flight attendant, while she was staff writing. Actually, make that a triple life, as there was a second husband in the mix there for a while...
During her high profile write-yourself-into-the-ground days, Jan had number ones and hits in all the charts. Artists from WHITNEY HOUSTON & MELISSA MANCHESTER to GEORGE JONES & PAM TILLIS cut her songs. (You can go to JanBuckingham.com for a complete discography.) Jan also had songs in movies like MY COUSIN VINNIE, and TV themes like HOLLYWOOD WIVES. Jan keeps her gold records in a closet in the office.
Then, Jan got bored and needed a change to recharge. (You gotta have something to write about.) So, Jan went into acting. She loved it! Jan was so into it, she didn't even return to Nashville to collect her awards when she had the big country hit sung by PAM TILLIS called CLEOPATRA-QUEEN OF DENIAL. (You can go to Jan's website, JanBuckingham.com, to read more about this little side trip.)
At one point, after being on TV and getting in some films, doing stand-up comedy and being in comedy sketch groups, Jan thought, "Hey, maybe I'm not IN the music business anymore... MAYBE I'm really an ACTOR now..." (When you ARE one, even the women refer to themselves as ACTORS.) So, Jan flew back to Nashville for two weeks to sell her house there, so she could concentrate on her acting in LA.
That's when Jan ran into AMY, who owns and runs the BLUEBIRD CAFE in Nashville, TN, and Jan told Amy, "Hey, I'm in town for a couple of weeks, if you'd like me to come in and play..." Amy kind of snorted and politely replied, "Well, uh, Jan, that would be just GREAT, but you see, we stay booked about a year out now." Okey-Dokey. Jan was just leaving anyway... The next afternoon Jan got a desperate call from Amy, asking Jan if she could come right over and play for about three hours at the Bluebird, as the main act had to cancel... Sure, that'd be fun... What could it hurt?
Jan got some of her friends like JONI BISHOP and JEFFERY STEELE to come too, and it was a real good time at The Bluebird that night. (See pics on Jan's website) A lot of people heard Jan play, but it just took one to sign her to another big publishing deal... and the two weeks in Nashville turned into five months. The house never got sold, but Jan DID lose her LA acting agents... and turns out, she was STILL in the music business... until the publishing company folded six months later.
Now Jan was still IN the music business, but that and four dollars will buy you a cappuccino in LA... and the times, they were a changing. Mechanical royalties, which were part of what kept Jan the songwriter afloat, seemed to magically be quartered with the arrival of SOME of the early internet downloading options... so Jan was kind of forced fulltime into the performing arena.
It all started innocently enough. People at songwriter nights asked Jan to play some of her hit stuff... and Jan got into it, trying out newly written songs on the audience. Jan played her songs at the Troubadour, the Palomino, on cable and network television... and all that led Jan into doing hour-long assemblies for 300 grade school children with just her guitar and some hand puppets... So now Jan had become a singer, and a VENTRILOQUIST too...
This wasn't exactly the 2.3 children and station wagon in the suburbs happy ending that Jan grew up believing was her ultimate destiny, but it was a living... and this living led to Jan doing library shows all over Los Angeles... (Oh, the songs were still getting cut... but the money...that just wasn't trickling down like it used to.)
Somewhere along the way, Jan met TRACEY BARTELLE at JENNIFER'S, a coffee shop in Studio City, CA. Tracy was pouring the coffee that day, so Jan made the logical assumption: Tracy worked in the coffee shop. Partially true... Tracey ended up singing harmonies with Jan at one of Jan's coffee house gigs. (Jan, being a true blonde, has no memory of that, but fortunately for Jan, Tracy didn't forget it!)
Then one day, in her lovely Australian accent, Tracy invited Jan over to "just put a few of these tunes down,
say, on Wednesday evenings." Hmmm... just like bridge club. What could that hurt? How could Jan have known what a sly and awesomely talented television, film and artist producer Miss Tracy was! Six weeks later, to Jan's utter amazement, an album was completed.
That's when Jan FINALLY came to the conclusion that she had not just been hanging out with artists all these years, writing all these songs... Turns out, she WAS one of these crazy people... and Jan realized there was no turning back.
That's when other angels arrived, posing as customers at JENNIFERS...
There was MARIO MARTIN, who, disguised as the mild-mannered owner of Jennifer's Coffee Shop, turned out to be an incredible faster-than-a-speeding-bullet mastering wizard in his home studio, THE AUDIO PAD. This beautiful facility was cleverly disguised as the garage behind Mario's house. (Mario is also an incredible musician, writer artist himself.)
There was also MICHAEL MURPHY. For years, Jan and Michael just passed by each other saying, "Hi, how ya doin'?" Then one day Michael and Jan started to talk, and Michael offered to hook up her new Kurtzweil keyboard. Once that was done, Michael played a few chords and boom, they were writing... and Michael turned Jan on to STACEY STANLEY and THE NOTE PAD. Stacey, a fine artist in her own right, did the graphics and burned and packaged the CDs for Jan's first album, ORGANICALLY YOURS.
And finally there was CHRIS FRADKIN, one of Jan's coffee drinking buddies and the father of RAGTIME RUBY. Chris helped Jan get her website built... Angels, one and all.
Regarding the songs chosen for this first CD... (There are three more albums of more "produced" stuff all ready to follow, but there's just not enough hours in the day!) ORGANICALLY YOURS is all about where Jan came from and how she was raised. The songs talk about what she believes, or did at one time. It's about values and the lack of... And there's a bunch funny, good old-fashioned story telling going on throughout. In a nutshell, this CD is just a bunch of stuff Jan likes to sing, and that her rabbits like to listen to. (Yes, rabbits. There six of them: Bytor, Zeena, Rusty, Eleanor, Jump and Happy The Man... but that's another story, and it can soon be found at JanBuckingham.com.) Jan's agent, GARY DONOVAN, said it best: "Jan really reminds me of someone... I just can't remember who it is..."
Jan hopes you have as much fun listening to this CD as she had making it. And Jan just wants you to remember:
EVERYTHING IS OKAY.