Howie’s earliest music memories involved listening to the pop albums his parent listened to: Herp Albert, Al Hirt, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong to name a few. He was always singing and tapping rhythms out on whatever was handy so it was obvious music was in his bones. His dad attempted to interest him in trumpet, but whether the time wasn’t right, or wasn’t a good fit he wasn’t interested.
Instruments that did seem to fit with him were harmonica, electric organ and eventually guitar. The choir director in elementary school enlisted Howie for service, but again, whether it was timing, or the lack of good clean air, he fought for freedom from duty. It wasn’t until his teen years that Howie developed interest in actually learning guitar, teaching himself via Mel Bay and copying records by Steppenwolf, Fifth Dimension, the Beach Boys, The Band and other pop music of the 60s and early 70s.
Upon discharge from the Army Howie bought a guitar and a James Taylor and Joni Mitchel album, began to learn songs and was out playing clubs within the year. A college Big Band (DCC Jazz Ensemble) stint led to Howie joining the musicians union with the Sunshine Band in New York’s Hudson Valley. Rock bands ensued, including the formation of The Moose River Band, a group that reformed for a series of reunion concerts in Hammondsport, NY around 2011.
Since 2003 Howie has performed all over America with “Debbie, my faithful wife, percussionist and encourager”. County fairs, coffee houses, night clubs, concerts and private house concerts are some of the venues they have entertained music patrons. In 2016 they played on every state capitol in America!
Moving from musically rich Charlottesville, Virginia to the Columbus area in 2019, Howie discovered a vibrant music scene, continuing his soulful Americana, folk/rock with jazz overtones style of music there. A thriving blues scene provided a welcoming environment as well, which inspired the writing of songs like “More Snow in the Forecast” (recorded in Nashville), and “Shuffle Down, Mama” (recorded in Mississippi with former MALACO Records engineer Tom Easley).
Writing songs and performing since the late 1970s, Howie’s diverse musical influences span jazz, folk, soul, R&B, rock, blues and more. “I’m one of those guys who can make music on just about anything I pick up. My main instruments are acoustic and electric guitar and Native American flute. But I also play bass, drums and dabble in sax, clarinet and keyboards. Developing songs and instrumental soundscapes is what I enjoy, especially when it involves other musicians.”
Music has always been a big part of Howie’s life. “It’s been a thrill to play in 40s and 50s style Big Bands, various rock and Top 40 groups as well as many solo and duo settings. Much of my songwriting reflects influences such as James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce, Johnny Mercer, Albert and B.B. King and many more.”
Recently Howie has been in the studio with friends in Nashville, TN and Raymond, MS. Along with Native American flute and acoustic guitar folk/rock, a fun album of grooving, soulful Americana entitled Northern Roots – Southern Soul has been produced.
Mostly self-taught, Howie has studied with Roger Thorpe (Glen Miller, Sammy Kaye) and Jim Gannon (Woody Hermon, Buddy Rich) as well as gleaning from the internet from such notables as FrankVignola and Randy Johnson and many others. “It’s a great time to be a musician”, he says of the current availability of lessons, licks and information.
For more information go to howiecampbell.com