John Hoban is best known for his skill on a variety of instruments, most especially the mando-cello, the banjo, and the fiddle. He is also a master storyteller as well as an accomplished songwriter and singer.
His self-titled debut is a collection of his own highly personal compositions. He penned "The Long Forgotten Saint" on the occasion of his mother's passing when he was 13 years old. "The White Feather" is a lighter, mischievous parody. In "Slan Le Van," he expresses his appreciation to Van Morrison. The song was prompted by a 1993 San Francisco concert. "Safe Journey" revolves around, of all things, a bus ride. Hoban takes the mundane and works his magic on it. The only song on the release that he didn't write is a traditional one titled "Flower of Sweet Erin the Green," which was passed on to him by singer Cathal McConnell.
Hoban is a native of Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. He has performed with such artists as Tommy Peoples, Sharon Shannon, Arcady, Johnny Mulhern, and General Humbert, among others. He can also be heard singing "Slan Le Van" on Shannon's The Diamond Mountain Sessions.
He is involved in a number of other activities, many of them music related. He offers classes to writers and others on storytelling in the Seattle region. Alongside Noah Shapiro, a music therapist, he contributes his talents to New York events that provide music therapy to various groups in New York, including the elderly and the homeless. Additionally he has worked on projects that aid Somalian, Lebanese, and Bosnian refugees. He helped establish Connecticut's Shamrock Traditional Irish Society, and he also teaches music.