John Howland

Singer/Songwriter - Guitarist - Teacher

  I have been fascinated by music from as early as I can remember.  Singing was my first love, I guess you could say, but it wasn’t until high school that I recognized that my voice might be safe for public consumption.  My first musical experience was singing in a band with some high school friends.  I started learning guitar so that I could be self sufficient, and not wait around for my bandmates to work on songs.  I began learning by ear, and with morsels of guidance from our band’s guitarist.  Soon college choices were looming large and the only thing that could imagine doing was playing music.  

  Short on experience, but long on passion, I auditioned at Berklee College of Music and was accepted.  The next four years was my formal music education.  The big take-away from Berklee was a taste for improvisation and the skills, music theory knowledge, and ear training that help facilitate being able to play in that spirit.  I was also exposed to a wide variety of styles and playing situations.  I got to study with Wayne Krantz (Steely Dan), Richie Hart (George Benson protege), and influential slide guitarist Dave Tronzo.  My introduction to slide guitar was with Dave, and that experience changed the course of my life in many ways.  Slide guitar and lap steel have become a huge part of my musical world, and the associated techniques and tunings have influenced my approach to standard guitar playing considerably.  


After Berklee, I loaded up a Honda Civic hatchback with all my worldly possessions, two cats and a girlfriend, and headed across country to Berkeley, Ca.  The idea was to get to the bay and start being a musician, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.  Musicians wear many hats, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.   I love to write, record and perform my own tunes.  I love teaching full-time.  I’ve been playing shows with other local artists and nationally touring artists alike, and recording in a wide variety of situations.  Recently, I’ve also had the opportunity to do some scoring for animated films and commercials as well.  


I look forward to being part of more music, and all its various forms.  


My personal highlights:

Sunburn, my first album was picked up for distribution by a Japanese label.

Angelo Moore (Fishbone) shows

Deltron 3030 US/Brazil touring

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass w/Cyndi Harvell

BFD at Shoreline Amphitheater with Andrew St James

Mermaids on Mars (stop time animated film), arranged and recorded score.  

Cheetos Halloween “Bones” commercial, score

Jim Greer, (Rondo Brothers) amazing producer and friend who I’ve done countless recordings, and writing, with.