MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE FRIENDS Artie Traum
This artist has three decades of good acoustic music behind him, and a lot more to come. He's a very rare example of a singer songwriter crossing over into instrumental popularity and then actually going to #1 on the smooth jazz charts.
Happy and Artie Traum made two records for Capitol and one for Rounder. Friends of The Band (who recorded Artie's "Amazon, River of Dreams" on their Jericho release) and fixtures of the Woodstock musical community, they toured internationally as far back as '69 in front of Dylan, The Band, and Paul Butterfield. Happy began Homespun Tapes, a quality company that became very successful marketing instructional tapes and videos for many instruments and styles. (Look for a review of one of Artie's instructional videos for Homespun in a future issue.) Artie continued playing and producing, and concentrated progressively on the instrumental side of things. His landmark '93 release Letters from Joubee was a big success, and was 24-bit remastered and rereleased by Narada Records in 2000.
Meetings was made in '99. The basic cool concept is that Traum would conceive a duo or group he wanted to do a song with, write a piece with that personnel in mind, and either track it in Woodstock or travel to wherever they were to record. He went to Northern CA to record with David Grisman, to Nashville to work with Sam Bush and Bela Fleck, and L.A. to duet with Laurence Juber. The rest of the many talented friends live around or come to Woodstock, including The Band.
Traum told me, "When I became an instrumental artist, I continued to write pieces that were structured like songs, with verses, chorus, and a bridge, and a rideout ending. I've decided to let the guitar be my voice." He is a gifted and lyrical soloist, and the compositions are beautiful and expertly tailored to the various musicians involved. The CD falls between folk, jazz, and new age instrumental. It's a must have recording for lovers of acoustic guitar music. New vocal and instrumental releases are in the works, and lots more information about this multi-faceted talent can be gleaned at his website. FG