Happy Traum was smitten by American folk music and began playing guitar and 5-string banjo as a teenager. He was an active participant of the legendary Washington Square/Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1950s and ‘60s, and studied guitar with the famed blues master, Brownie McGhee.
A first-rate fingerstyle guitarist and singer, he has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan, both as a soloist and as a member of various groups. His avid interest in traditional and contemporary folk music has brought him recognition as a performer, writer, editor, session musician, 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. Happy with his group, the New World Singers, cut the first recorded version of “Blowin’ In The Wind”, and Happy sang a duet with Dylan on his anti-war song “Let Me Die in My Footsteps.”(These tracks were re-released in August, 2000 by Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings as part of a boxed set, “The Best of Broadsides 1962 – 1988: Anthems from the American Underground.”

The New World Singers (Happy, Bob Cohen and Gil Turner) soon recorded an album for Atlantic Records, with liner notes by Bob Dylan, and released a single of the first recorded version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” The group toured folk clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, including several stints at Gerde’s Folk City and the Bitter End in the Village, the Riverboat in Toronto and the Gate of Horn in Chicago.

Happy recorded his first solo album, “Relax Your Mind,” in 1975 and embarked on the first of many European tours, bringing him to England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia, among other countries. He toured in Japan in 2001 and 2016 as a soloist, and in 2006 with Artie Traum.

“American Stranger” was released in 1977 (“An absolute gem…one of the best folk music albums released this year.” – Folk Scene).”Bright Morning Stars” was released in 1980, and “Friends And Neighbors,” recorded “live” in a Woodstock concert, was released in 1983. Shanachie Records released a compilation album, “Buckets Of Songs,” in 1988, and “Bright Morning Stars” was re-released on CD both in the U.S. and in Japan in 2001.

“I Walk The Road Again” (2005) was co-produced by Artie Traum. Among many great reviews, one said: “I Walk the Road Again’ is a breathtaking collection of bittersweet country-folk and blues tunes…. A low-key masterpiece, this album demonstrates that it’s not the pace that matters so much as the road itself. It’s a road we’re glad to see Happy Traum walking so well again.” – Peter Aaron, Kingston Daily Freeman

Happy’s 2015 CD release, “Just For the Love of It,” also received rave reviews, including four stars in Rolling Stone Magazine! It was in the top five in folk radio play for several months, and was on many “Top Ten of 2015” reviewers’ lists.

Happy continues a busy and productive life as a solo artist in clubs, concerts and festivals around the U.S., and collaborates with many musical colleagues: Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Cindy Cashdollar, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason and many others – including his son, Adam Traum, a fine singer/songwriter/guitarist in his own right.

Now in his 83rd year, Happy continues to perform, record, conduct guitar workshops and classes, and produce new lessons for Homespun. One of Woodstock, NY’s most revered local musicians, he can often be heard playing for large fundraisers or other community causes, trying to pay back the half-century of friendships and good will that came to him and his family in that creative, progressive community.