James Howe

Old Dogs New Tricks

Jimmy with banjo (1).jpg

I don’t remember this banjo, but I do remember the toy trombone the Easter Bunny left for me one year.  And I remember all the years of sitting at the piano, practicing.  I sang all the time, sometimes while jumping up and down on my bed until my mother shouted up the stairs, “Stop that jumping! You’re shaking the chandelier!” At the end of the sixth grade I took up the cello, but my family moved in the middle of seventh grade, and that was the end of my cello playing.

Until …

I picked up the cello again many years later and now I play it with my husband Mark on guitar while we sing and perform together as Old Dogs New Tricks.  You can read all about us in the article "Couple spreads harmony as Old Dogs New Tricks" (see below) that appeared in the local newspaper when we opened for Mouths of Babes, an amazing singer-songwriter duo. Check them out! 

Planting Trees

I wrote about one of our songs, “Planting Trees,” in the anthology Behind the Song. You can hear the song here. Mine is the first voice you'll hear. Mark sings the second verse. I'm not playing the cello on this song, but you will hear other instruments because this is the recorded version that will appear on our CD. We’re hoping to have that out by the end of the year!

If you’ve read my piece in Behind the Song, you may want to check out some of what I wrote about. 

To learn more about The Forest Man of India Jadav Payeng, watch this short video:

At the age of 17, Jadav Payeng started to grow trees on barren land. Many challenging years later a jungle of 1200 hectares has grown out of this idea. This is a story of passion and perseverance and how an individual can change the course of nature.

More inspiring information on Karmatube, including an additional video on Jadav Payeng, is available through the Karmatube website

To learn more about Isaiah Zagar and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, visit the Philadelphia Magic Garden website.

More information on Dar Williams is available through her website.


Last winter Mark and I performed at the Music Box in Craftsbury, one of our favorite places in the world, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

And in June we played the RiverArts Music Tour in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, with our friend Paul Harris on flute.

We're taking a break from performing at the moment to record our first CD!

The Old Dogs New Tricks website will be up and running soon!

Meanwhile, you can read the article I mentioned, “Couple spreads harmony as Old Dogs New Tricks,” and here’s a photo of three old dogs: Mark and me and our dog Lily – along with a friend’s interpretation of Old Dogs New Tricks as a unicorn and Gumby!

Photo by Tim Lamorte

Photo by Tim Lamorte

Art by Amanda Gates-Elston

Art by Amanda Gates-Elston