Program Notes © 2015 by Miriam Villchur Berg*

Happy Traum, guitar and vocals
John Sebastian,
harmonica, guitars, and vocals
Cindy Cashdollar,
slide and steel guitars
Zach Djanikian,
guitar and vocals


Saturday, September 5, 2015, 8 pm

The program will be announced from the stage.

There will be an intermission.



Sunday, September 6, 4 pm | Dover Quartet

Concert for the Friends of Maverick
Quartets by Schumann and Janáček, and Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade
Regular Maverick tickets are not valid for this event and there is no “Rock Bottom” seating.
Admission is by contribution only. A donor of $50 receives one ticket; a donor of $100 or more receives two.

next week

Saturday, September 12, 8 pm | Marc Black and Warren Bernhardt

Sunday, September 13, 2 pm | American String Quartet

Music of Mendelssohn and Beethoven, and the world premiere of
a new work by George Tsontakis, commissioned for the Maverick centennial.
This commission is made possible in part through support from County of Ulster’s
Ulster County Cultural Services & Promotions Fund, administered by Arts Mid Hudson.



Happy Traum was smitten by American folk music as a teenager, and began playing guitar and five-string banjo. He was an active participant in the legendary Washington Square/Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1950s and 60s, and studied guitar with the famed blues master Brownie McGhee. Over the past five decades he has performed extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan, both as a soloist and as a member of various groups. His avid interest in traditional and contemporary music has brought him recognition as a performer, writer, editor,
session musician, folklorist, teacher, and recording artist.

Happy’s first appearance in a recording studio was at a historic session in 1963, when a group of young folk musicians, including Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Peter LaFarge, and the Freedom Singers gathered in Folkways Records’ studio for an album called Broadsides. The New World Singers soon recorded an album for Atlantic Records and toured folk clubs throughout the US and Canada. In 1965, Happy wrote his best-selling Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar, the first of more than a dozen instruction books that documented the playing of the great traditional guitarists. Happy also started writing for Sing Out! magazine, and served as its editor from 1967 to 1970. He has also written articles and instructional columns for Rolling Stone, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Player, and other music publications.

In 1967, Happy, his wife Jane, and their three children moved to Woodstock, and Happy and his brother, Artie Traum, formed a duet that, according to Rolling Stone, “defined the Northeast folk music style.” Their performances at the 1968 and 1969 Newport Folk Festivals helped to gain them an avid following and a contract with famed manager Albert Grossman. In 1970, Happy and Artie recorded their first album for Capitol Records, Happy and Artie Traum, which The New York Times called “One of the best records in any field of pop music.” For four years they hosted a popular live radio show, Bring It On Home, which was broadcast monthly from the performance studio at WAMC in Albany. Happy and Artie produced the classic folk album Mud Acres: Music Among Friends, which became a best seller for Rounder Records.

In 1971 Happy once again joined Bob Dylan in the studio, playing guitar, banjo, and bass, and singing harmony on three songs (“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “Down In the Flood,” and “I Shall Be Released,”) which appeared on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.

Happy recorded his first solo album, Relax Your Mind, in 1975 and embarked on the first of many European tours. Happy and Artie subsequently produced and played on three more albums with top folk and rock musicians under the collective title The Woodstock Mountains Revue. The core group, comprised of Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, John Herald, Roly Salley, Larry Campbell, Pat Alger, and Happy and Artie Traum, toured the Northeast, Europe, and Japan. Other members who appeared on the recordings included John Sebastian, Eric Andersen, Rory Block, Paul Butterfield, Maria Muldaur, and many others. Happy and Artie’s strong musical partnership lasted until Artie’s untimely death in 2008.

Happy and Jane founded Homespun Tapes in 1967. The company has a catalog of more than five hundred music lessons on DVDs, CDs, books, and downloads. Taught by top professional performing musicians, the lessons cover a wide variety of instruments and musical styles.

Tonight’s concert serves to celebrate the release of Happy’s new CD, Just For the Love of It, featuring fourteen songs with backup by John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Byron Isaacs, David Amram, Abby Newton, and many others. Happy says: “The songs in this collection are either old and traditional, or have been composed in that style by writers with deep connections to what is now called American roots music. My idea for this recording was to play and sing live in the studio, to try and capture that wonderful interaction that happens spontaneously with musical friends.”

Over four decades the contributions of John Sebastian have become a permanent part of our American musical fabric. His group The Lovin’ Spoonful played a major role in the mid-60s rock revolution, putting their first seven singles into the Top 10. This was unprecedented, and utterly unthinkable at the height of Beatlemania. At first they’d taken older material from blues, country, folk, and jug band sources — what we now term roots music — and made it sound modern. Then, in a series of original songs composed and sung by John Sebastian, they did the reverse, creating a thoroughly modern sound that seemed like it contained the entire history of American music. You know the songs by heart: “Do You Believe in Magic?” “You Didn’t Have to be so Nice,” “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up your Mind?” “Summer in the City,” “Rain on the Roof,” “Nashville Cats,” and many others.

John Sebastian’s father was a noted classical harmonica player and his mother a writer of radio programs. Regular visitors to the family’s Greenwich Village home included Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie, so it was no surprise when young John became a fan of, and then a participant in, the folk music revival that swept the nation in the late 50s. Making his bow as a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, his skills on guitar, harmonica, and autoharp soon made him a sought-after accompanist on the Village folk scene, working with Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, and many others.

John had been involved in music for films (most notably Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re A Big Boy Now and Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily?) and Broadway, but when producers of a TV show called Welcome Back Kotter commissioned a theme song in 1976, Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” became a chart-topping solo record.

There’s no telling how many aspiring musicians have been nurtured by John’s instruction books for harmonica and guitar, but he aimed to inspire an even younger audience with the publication in 1993 of the delightful children’s book JB’s Harmonica. The 90s also saw John return to the group format with the J-Band, a contemporary celebration of his jug band heritage.

John’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 hasn’t slowed him down. He is the subject of the current PBS special Do You Believe in Magic: The Music of John Sebastian, and has produced albums with David Grisman (2007) and stars of the jug band genre (2010).

The career of five-time Grammy award winning dobro, steel guitar, and lap steel player Cindy Cashdollar has taken some surprising twists and turns. Along the way, she has worked with many leading artists in various genres, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dave Alvin, Rod Stewart, Ryan Adams, Albert Lee, Asleep at the Wheel, Marcia Ball, Jorma Kaukonen, Leon Redbone, BeauSoleil, Daniel Lanois, Redd Volkaert, and Peter Rowan. Cindy’s unerring ability to perfectly complement a song or step out with a tasteful, imaginative, and exciting solo — and to do it in so many musical genres — has made her one of the most in-demand musicians on the American roots music scene. Her debut CD Slide Show features guest artists comprising a Who’s Who from the musical landscape of roots and Americana. Cindy was inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2011 (the first female to be inducted) and the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Cindy first heard the unique sliding sound of the dobro in her hometown of Woodstock, where she honed her skills playing with bluegrass legend John Herald, blues great Paul Butterfield, Levon Helm and Rick Danko of The Band, and many others who lived in town. Eight years and thousands of miles on the road with the premier western swing group Asleep at the Wheel helped her introduce the classic sounds of the nonpedal steel to enthusiastic audiences worldwide, won her five Grammy awards, and gave her the opportunity to work with musicians of the caliber of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, and the Dixie Chicks.

Public radio listeners can catch her guest appearances on Garrison Keillor’s live radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. In great demand as a teacher, Cindy has given many workshops and produced four instructional DVDs distributed internationally by Homespun Tapes. Cindy does it all with grace, imagination, and taste. And, in answer to her most frequently asked question, yes, Cashdollar is a real name.

Zach Djanikian is a Woodstock-​​based singer, songwriter and multi-​​instrumentalist. He has recorded and toured internationally for the past five years as a member of Amos Lee’s band, and recently completed a tour with fellow Woodstock resident Rachael Yamagata. With his band The Brakes, Zach has performed locally and nationally, including an appearance at SXSW Showcase, and has shared the stage with such artists such as the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson, John Fogerty, and Widespread Panic. Zach was chosen to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch at the Philadelphia Phillies game on Father’s Day 2006. Along with The Brakes, Zach was seen on national TV and print as part of H&R Block’s “TaxCut Program” advertising campaign. The Brakes were winners of the 8th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for Best Live Performance for their album Tale of Two Cities.



All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg.
It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy, publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com.

Program Notes © 2015 by Miriam Villchur Berg