A benefit event for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, the Solstice Concert has been put on every December for time out of mind by blues guitarist Happy Traum and his late brother, who succumbed to a rare form of ocular cancer in the summer of 2008. Having put in some years in the 1990s as one of the shop-floor grunts at Homespun Tapes, Happy and Jane Traum’s Saugerties-based music instruction business, where Artie was a frequent visitor, I can attest personally to the fact that he was just as nice a guy as everybody says. Artie was friendly and accessible to all, never treating the “peons” like peons, and had a sly, irrepressible sense of humor. It’s easy to understand why he is widely missed.
Hard as it may be to imagine Woodstock’s Winter Solstice Concert without Artie Traum, the Hapster has been soldiering on to organize as great a show as it has been in years previous, and the lineup is always stellar. This year’s out-of-town special guest will be Steve Earle, joining such Usual Suspects as John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Amy Helm, Teresa Williams and Allison Moorer. Check the Theater’s website at www.bearsvilletheater.com/events-calendar/the-solstice-concert-happy-traum-and-friends-friday-december-17-2010 for updates on additional names “to be announced,” although you can probably count on some last-minute drop-ins who are at least semi-famous. And as always with this down-home musical crowd, expect a laid-back, informal vibe right alongside the highly professional demonstrations of instrumental expertise.
The Winter Solstice Concert for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild featuring Happy Traum and Friends kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 17 at the Bearsville Theater, which is located at 291 Tinker Street – just a hoot ‘n’ a holler west of downtown Woodstock. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets run $50 for the first four rows on the floor and the first two rows of the balcony, $35 for the rest of the house. To order, phone the Guild at (845) 679-2079 or visit www.woodstockguild.org. And do it soon, as this show always sells out!