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Artie Traum 7/2008

July 20, 2008 – Artie Traum was born on April 13th 1943 in the Bronx where he was raised as well.  He became a regular visitor to Greenwich Village clubs in the 1960s, hearing blues, folk music and jazz. Soon he was performing there, too. He made his first recording in 1963 as a member of the True Endeavor Jug Band Early.  Traum co-wrote songs for the Brian De Palma debut film Greetings – the first role for Robert De Niro – with Eric Kaz and Bear.

In 1969 Artie followed brother Happy to Woodstock, and they began working as a duo. That year the Traums performed at the Newport Folk Festival on stage with James Taylor, Kris Kristoferson and Joni Mitchell, and released their first studio album. Managed by Albert Grossman, whose other clients included Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, the Traums toured worldwide Their self-titled debut album, Happy & Artie Traum was cited by the New York Times as “one of the best records in any field of pop music.” The Traums were managed by Albert Grossman (manager of The Band, Dylan, Janis Joplin, etc.).

In November 1971, both Artie and Happy Traum (together with Bob Dylan, David Amram, and others) participated in an extended Record Plant (NYC) session backing up Allen Ginsberg in various songs and chants. Ginsberg wrote the liner notes for the duo’s “Hard Times in the Country” LP.

During the 70’s and 80’s, Artie Traum produced The Woodstock Mountains Revue featuring himself, his brother Happy, Roly Salley Pat Alger, John Sebastian, Arlen Roth, Maria Muldaur, Rory Block, Eric Andersen, Paul Butterfield and Paul Siebel. In the mid-1980s Traum teamed up with singer/songwriter Pat Alger (Thunder Rolls, Unanswered Prayers). The duo recorded the album From The Heart. Traum released his first solo album, Life on Earth, in 1977 on Rounder Records.

Traum’s 1994 release – the jazz project Letters From Joubee – captured #1 on the Smooth Jazz Radio Charts (Gavin AA chart). In 1999 his Meetings With Remarkable Friends – which included tracks featuring Traum playing with The Band, Bela Fleck, Jay Ungar, and other notables – received the Best Acoustic Instrumental Album award from the NAV.

His work appeared on more than 35 albums. He produced and recorded with The Band, Warren Bernhardt, Pat Alger, Tony Levin, John Sebastian, Richie Havens, Maria Muldaur, Eric Anderson, Paul Butterfield, Paul Siebel, Rory Block, James Taylor, Pete Seeger, David Grisman, Livingston Taylor, Michael Franks and Happy Traum, among others. He toured in Japan, Europe and the USA

In 2003, Traum released a singer/songwriter project, South of Lafayette, which was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. In 2007 Traum released the album Thief of Time.

In later years, Traum enjoyed a small side career as a documentary filmmaker. In 2002, his film Deep Water: Building the Catskill Water System (co-produced and co-directed with Tobe Carey and Robbie Dupree) was featured at the Woodstock Film Festival. Two years later, in 2004, Traum co-produced Hudson River Journeys: A Celebration of America’s First River for WMHT Public Television. The latter film featured artist Len Tantillo and folksinger Pete Seeger.

Traum also wrote numerous guitar instruction books, and hosted many video productions for his brother Happy’s Homespun Tapes. Traum lived with his wife Beverly in Bearsville, New York, just outside Woodstock. At the time of his death, Traum had been at work on a memoir.

Traum died of liver cancer on July 20, 2008 at Bearsville, near Woodstock, New York, aged 65.

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