Howard Ashby Kranz
Howard Ashby Kranz has lived and sung in Colorado, San Francisco, Western Carolina, New Jersey and Minnesota. He grew up in the Denver area, schooled by Catholic nuns who had him seriously believing he was going to hell, then a new brilliant set of Catholic nuns and priests who saved his spirit, espousing the new theologies of Vatican II, and who mostly ended up married, often to each other. In his teens he seceded from the Union, forming the nation of Fimoba. At Colorado College he studied writing with James Yaffe and had two original plays performed, one about the end of the world and the other about the beginning of the world. He graduated with a B.A. in English. He wrote pizza commercials for his dadís advertising agency long enough to buy his Martin guitar, then moved to Minneapolis, where he was a founding member of the Blue Kazoo and the Cooper Street Band. He studied songwriting with Rachel Faro at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, where a picture of him singing on the mall was used to illustrate an article about another street singer. In San Francisco he lived on Haight Street and had Visions of Ignorance. In Asheville, North Carolina he met Carl Sandbergís goats and was the best temp ever at cleaning the white rocks in the window wells at Howard Johnsonís. He loved the southern countryside, but came to realize painfully that he was a northern person and a city person.
Back in Minneapolis, he recorded with Vick Johnson the songs now collected as The Blowfish Writhes. He became associated with the Walker Community United Methodist Church, where they amazingly understood that Bye Bye Jesus was a religious song. At this time he did the series of house concerts recorded as Howard Ashby Kranz sings where he lives. With a group at Walker Church he did a series of morality play/variety shows with titles like The Theology of Forbidden Love. He also did the live recordings Live at Toad Hall and Music from the Guts of Space, with musical support from Paul Holte, Karl Jones, and Gary Schulte.
At one of the Walker Christmas plays he met his future wife Mary. Then she got a call to the ministry and they lived in New Jersey while she was in seminary, then in Duluth, New Hope, and South St. Paul. They adopted a son Daniel from the Philippines and a daughter Sharupa from India.
After a lengthy parental leave Howard returned to recording with At the Edge of the World, abetted by Louie and Nate Bucklin.
He then formed a partnership with Jim Feldman, who plays bass and flute, sings harmony and writes his own songs. Howard and Jim have now done five CDs together: Hearing Voices, Through the Cats Eye, A Hoji Christmas, Twenty Years! and Metempsychoses.
In 2020, during the pandemic isolation and the unrest following the murder of George Floyd a mile and a half away, Howard did a series of new songs recorded on his phone which he calls What I Did on my Pandemic Vacation, and a number of phone recordings of older songs which he calls Selfie Songs. Then he began doing lyric videos of his classic recordings and of the "Sacred and Profane" theme concert Kranz and Feldman did in 2018 with Karl Jones. Find these and other treasures on this web site.