For almost forty years, Homespun Tapes (they've been around so long, they're outgrowing their name!) has been recording and manufacturing instructional videos for learning every musical instrument under the sun. We counted over 250 artists alone that are represented by the ever-expanding Homespun catalog, and many of them have a number of titles. (Nashville fingerstyle wonder Pete Huttlinger, for instance, has eleven!)

The company was founded by Happy Traum and his wife, Jane, and they still pilot the ship together. Happy had a popular and very good folk rock duo with his brother Artie (Happy and Artie Traum) that were associated with Dylan, The Band, and the Woodstock, NY, community where Homespun is based. Artie is still a fine solo artist and a clinician for Taylor Guitars, we have reviewed him in these pages. After a long recording hiatus, Happy has just released a solo record called I Walk The Road Again, which Artie played some tracks on and produced. It also features the talents of John Sebastian, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and many bright lights of the Woodstock scene, including Leslie Ritter and Scott Petito. In our usual style, we have included some audio clips from that record on the Listen page for your perusal.

VHS and DVD recordings are such a helpful tool when you're trying to get into an instrument or style that, after we formed a desire to review the new Tony Rice Master Class DVD, we decided to review a Homespun video every issue for a while, and help acquaint or encourage the uninitiated with this great way to plunge into new instrumental or vocal territory. What we found immediately on this first foray is that the tapes often move you into a more inner circle with the artist him or herself. Happy interviews artists to various extents in the course of the lesson, and some are very inclined to be candidly forthcoming about various parts of their careers or their lives. In the Tony Rice Master Class, Tony and Happy get off into some very interesting stories.

In turn, we have interviewed Happy himself, about Homespun and about his new record, and know you will enjoy a rare conversation with the Woodstock maestro.

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