An Americana identical twin brother led duo/trio, meet The Cross-Eyed Possum! Jason Howard (upright bass & lead vocals), Jonah Howard (guitar & backing vocals), and Keenan Hammack (mandolin & backing vocals) banded together and recently won 1st place in the 2022 Pickin’ In The Pines Band Contest. The group performs mostly original music written by the brothers Howard that was inspired by a mix of the wide genres of music they grew up with (Americana, Rock n Roll, Bluegrass, Folk), their Jazz and Classical university experiences, and their stories of life on the road. Cross-Eyed Possum has performed at the Pure Imagination Festival in Prescott, Arizona and the OFOAM festival in Ogden, Utah. They were pleased to share the bills with Fantastic Negrito, Katie Pruitt, Rising Appalachia, Sierra Hull, and Dawes. The group toured the Pacific Northwest, Tennessee, New Orleans, Texas, and Colorado in their van and have on their YouTube channel, VanLifeBandLife.
Upright Bass, Vocals
Jason Howard is a double bassist who has been playing music since middle school and will continue to play professionally with Jonah in Cross-Eyed Possum after graduating with a degree in music performance from Northern Arizona State University in May 2022. In the duration of his high school career, Jason experienced success in multiple scenarios both within the fields of competitive high school competitions and the professional music world. He made all state twice for both orchestra and jazz, taking first in orchestra once and first in jazz both times. During this time, he and his twin brother began writing and performing music together on stages all around the state of Arizona. Jason also joined the band "Sugar and the Mint" while in high school, with whom he won numerous competitions including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest and toured the music festival scene extensively. Jason also experienced numerous successes during his time at NAU, including opportunities such as playing principal bass for the NAU Symphony, the Flagstaff Symphony, Verde Valley Symphony, and playing with the top jazz combo in his school. He also won the NAU concerto competition his junior year, toured around the country multiple times with The Cross-Eyed Possum, and wrote multiple solo pieces for the double bass.
Jonah graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University in May 2022 with a degree in Jazz Performance and a certificate in Music Entrepreneurship. During these college years he had the opportunity to tour with Cross-Eyed Possum several times across the country, as well as play with several bands in the Phoenix area. At school he performed in some of the top ensembles under the direction of Michael Kocour and Lewis Nash. He also wrote and produced much original music for jazz recitals and for classes that he attended at ASU's Popular Music School. Some of this music will feature in upcoming Cross-Eyed Possum projects. One selection of this music was also featured in a collaboration event with ASU and Phoenix Children's Hospital called "Power Play."
While at Prescott High School he made it into the Arizona All State Jazz Band four consecutive years in a row (2015-2018). He was also honored as the Jazz Student of the Year at the "Prescott Jazz Summit" festival in 2015. Before graduating high school he was able to tour once with Cross-Eyed Possum. While here he also played in every band opportunity he could, playing instruments like the cello, french horn, guitar, mellophone, and mandolin.