Janet Ryan and Straight Up


Long ago, in a galaxy far away...

I grew up listening to my mom play the piano, and dancing with my dad to his favorites, like New Christie Minstrels and Harry Belafonte, Boots Randolph and Marty Robbins. I started my piano lessons at 5. By 12, I was bored with trying to learn what someone else wanted me to play, so I started writing and improvising. By then, I had discovered my singing voice.....So my mom and I sang in church choir for years. Singing in the alto section teaches you how to hear harmony! Our church choir sang with Duke Elllington during his Sacred Concert years. So, at 16, I had sang with Duke Ellington!  After that, came my love of the Broadway Musical.....

Later on after I had my children, I sang in the Good News Gospel Choir with Chris Coogan in Weston CT. Quite possibly the finest singing experience of my life.

Unrelated fact: I am a life long Star Trek Fan.

Life in Chicago; The Hungry Years

Moving to Evanston in 1976 gave me access to Chicago, and a whole new kind of music. I moved there to finish school at Northwestern University. Clubs were alive with blues and soul, and walking into clubs and hearing Koko Taylor and Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows a regular habit. Hanging out at Biddy Mulligan's on the North side, or Wise Fools pub in the near north was the best way to immerse in the music scene. I was busy making money singing in club bands throughout Chicagoland. We would get gigs and be booked for a month at a time, 5 nights a week, 8 pm til 2 am...My voice got schooled! I was inspired by a singer at a club called the Back Room in Chicago named Shelley Torres...So I began voice lessons with Faye Kaiser. After several wonderful teachers, and post grad work at The Hartt School Of Music, I am happily teaching others!

This Is Us... Straight Up!

I am blessed to be playing with the BEST musicians I have known! Straight up features Ray Chaput, a phenomenal guitar player, and a driving force in the band. Ray says he's a blues guy, but he plays soulful and funky and great rock and roll. 

Joe Elliott plays Hammond organ and he is the best there is! His sound is full and complimentary to whoever he plays with. With Koko on drums, we are sure to come up with some original unplanned piece of musical genius on each gig!

Our revolving bass chair features Guy Devito, Steve Toutant, and Dennis LeBeau..Also joining us at any given time is Joe Meo on Sax and Stew Mandoo on harp!


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Let's Connect

Do you have questions, want to book a show, or collaborate? I am available for private piano, voice and ukulele lessons in Conway, or I will come to you!  Keep your brain young and learn to play music!

Janet Ryan and Straight Up


(413) 522-2254