The ArtsCenter, Carrboro
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Happy Traum delivered an all-encompassing trip at The ArtsCenter on a late September Saturday. The founder of Homespun, a media company focusing on specialized music lessons on video, started the afternoon off with a finger-picking instructional session. Later that evening, a performance and fascinating presentation on Traum's time at the heart of the folk movement in New York City's Washington Square followed. Traum also had his first record in 10 years in tow, Just For The Love Of It, co-produced by Larry Campbell. The CD is essentially a collection of folk standards by some of Traum's favorite artists, backed by musicians from the tight-knit community of Woodstock, New York, where he lives. Highlights from Traum's set included the Norman Blake standard "Church Street Blues," to which he added his own musical and lyrical spirit.
After his hour-long set, Traum gave a fascinating presentation about his time in Greenwich Village around the folk boom—from being pulled along to a concert in high school by Pete Seeger to taking lessons with eventual Durham resident Brownie McGhee. He also talked about recording the first versions of some of Bob Dylan's most well-known songs like "Don't Think Twice It's All Right," spending Thanksgiving with Dylan and hearing Rick Danko and Richard Manuel practicing their soon-to-be-legendary version of "I Shall be Released" on piano. After the presentation, I had three pages in my notebook full of names I'd never heard before. That seems to be what Traum's day in Carrboro was all about: sharing the method to the music he loves, as well as the stories behind it.