“My dad went to prison when I was three, and my mom bought my first guitar with green stamps”.
Born in St. Charles, Missouri, while a teenager, his family moved to Chicago. It was there Jon began singing in a local bar band and composing songs. “I was the youngest member, and we were playing in all these bars. My mom had to walk me in.” Chicago stirred the blues in Howard’s soul. “I really liked Muddy Waters and James Cotton, they have had big influence on my harmonica playing.”
While he was still in high school, Jon’s family once again relocated, this time to Dallas. A difficult move at the time but a blessing in disguise, the diverse musical influences of Texas would become a defining ingredient of Howard’s songwriting. While in Dallas, Jon started a new working band that focused on funk and R&B. “I wanted to do Marvin Gaye type songs.”
Jon’s looks offered other options. “I modeled to pay my rent. It allowed me to see the world.” Jon wound up in London recording a “soul” record with noted producers Danny Puku and Bob Carter.
Back in the U.S.A. Jon moved to LA where he honed his songwriting craft with hit songwriters Gene Black and Monty Byrom. Howard then joined the controversial L.A. Funk/Rap/Thrash group, Ku De Tah. The L.A. Music Awards acknowledged him for hard-hitting lyrics on “Fish Outta Water” and “15 to 1.” Howard recalls; ‘It was an angry, politically-charged band and it eventually took it’s toll on us”. Leaving the band to pursue something closer to his heart, he started writing acoustic songs with Infectious Groove’s Adam Siegel; then turned his attention to the making of his debut solo album, 1996’s ‘Americana.’
In 1997, Jon’s son Christopher was born. This caused him to refocus his goals and priorities. Jon spent time at home writing songs for the films; Defying Gravity and Civility. In 2000, he released a CD with 18 children’s songs called Christopher’s Daddy. Two more self produced CD’s followed; Dreaming of America and Dance of Life.
His musical heroes include Bob Marley, John Lennon and U2’s Bono “For seeing the world in a greater light.”Jon, “I also feel the need to do more. You can’t save the world as a whole but you save one human at a time, and hope you can be a positive influence. I like to believe in and try to find the good in all.”
With the release of his newest CD, Time For Something New on Mettafour Records, Howard, at a musical watershed in his life, puts it simply, “I’m making peace with the past.” In his uncompromisingly honest music and gravelly voice, discerning listeners will detect a psyche at war with a lifetime of train wrecks witnessed. As an album, Time For Something New is an ironic culmination of Jon’s emotional journey and acknowledgement of his own demons. That said, Howard is an eternal optimist who believes in the virtues of love and lives life to the fullest.
- A Walk In The Park (4:54)
- Potterville (4:39)
- In the Eyes of Love (3:59)
- Throw Another Penny (4:56)
- Corpus Christi (6:06)
- Time For Something New (6:06)
- Mama’s Boy (3:18)
- Lada Dee Lada Do (4:05)
- Sometime’s It’s Love (4:25)
- Saint Charles (3:59)
- Busker John Joe May (4:44)
- What A Wonderful World (2:39)
Ben Wisch at Bailey Building & Loan, NYC, NY
Musicians joining John on this CD are:
Amy Helm (vocals), Glenn Patscha (vocals), Shawn Pelton (drums), Duke Levine (guitars, mandola), Paul Bryan (bass), Ben Wisch (Wurlitzer, keyboards), Greg Krueger (guitars, mandoguitar), Stephanie Winters (cello)
Dale LaDuke, Jon T Howard, & Greg Krueger
explore Beale Street.