Pin It

CD Review: Happy Traum's Just for the Love of It 

click to enlarge 2015, Lark's Nest Music
  • 2015, Lark's Nest Music

Happy Traum Just for the Love of It

Those who can't do, the aphorism goes, teach. But Happy Traum is one solid exception to the rule. Through his Woodstock-based Homespun Music instructional label, Traum and his team have taught the world to play everything from accordion to xylophone (or close to it), and his seminal Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar has been in print now for over 50 years. But Traum can most definitely do, as evinced by his latest disc, Just for the Love of It. The title is appropriate; Traum came of age at the hootenannies in Washington Square Park and his own music has never strayed far from the fountain.

Here, his deft six-string arrangements of folk classics like "Jay Gould's Daughter," Norman Blake's "Church Street Blues," and lost pal John Herald's "High Muddy Water" are abetted by heavyweight friends like John Sebastian, Jerry Marotta, Larry Campbell, and Marco Benevento, among others. There is an air of the park, too, a real feel of folks just sitting down to pick, except that you and I don't pick quite like this. Traum's thumb, a legacy of lessons with Brownie McGhee, drives the affair, pulsing with a bright urgency even on the ballads. An instrumental take of "Tennessee Waltz," in particular, shows off Traum's elegant chops. Sitting knee to knee with Martin Simpson for a duet, it's nothing fancy—no showing off needed—but it's sweet, in the pocket and right on target. Happytraum.com.

Tags: ,

  • Michael Eck reviews Happy Traum's new CD.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

  • Art of Business: Bardavon
  • Art of Business: Bardavon

    See a show at the Bardavon this season. You won't be disappointed.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Turning the Turntables
  • Turning the Turntables

    This month, we once again ring in the new year with a specially selected panel of Hudson Valley music mavens, who run down their top releases of 2016 and talk current crushes and future faves along the way.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson

    Handpicked by music editor Peter Aaron for your listening pleasure.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Michael Eck

Hudson Valley Tweets