A Musical Conversation on the American Folk Music Tradition
Ed Trickett, Folk-Legacy Recording Artist; Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence; Director, James Madison Program, Princeton University
The James Madison Program is delighted to welcome to Princeton Folk-Legacy recording artist Ed Trickett. Both as a solo performer and as part of a beloved trio with Anne Mayo Muir and Gordon Bok, Ed Trickett has been among our nation’s leading interpreters of various traditions of American folk music. Commenting on the depth of his interpretive skills as a vocalist, Gordon Bok remarked that “Ed sings a song from the inside out.” Ed Trickett, who taught psychology for many years at Yale University and now teaches at the University of Miami, has appeared on more Folk-Legacy recordings than any other artist. Trickett will be joined by Robert P. George, the James Madison Program's director and an impressive musician in his own right.
Ed Trickett has been collecting and performing folk songs for over 45 years. His early musical influences were Frank Proffitt, Larry Older, Bob and Evelyn Beers, George and Gerry Armstrong, and Howie Mitchell. Later, he learned from and sang with a number of other musicians whose commitment and talent were extraordinary: Gordon Bok, Bob Coltman, Cathy Barton, and Ann Mayo Muir. Each taught him that it’s the song, not the singer, that’s important. Over the years he has performed hundreds of concerts in coffee houses, at colleges, folk music festivals and varied other occasions in the United States, Canada, and the British Isles. He has also appeared on several radio programs across the country, including Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion (St. Paul, MN) and Rich Warren’s (formerly Studs Terkel’s) Midnight Special on WFMT in Chicago. He has recorded four solo albums, beginning with The Telling Takes Me Home (Folk Legacy Records), the most recent being Echo on the Evening Tide (Azalia City Recordings). For 26 years he sang with Gordon Bok and Ann Mayo Muir throughout the United Sates, Canada, and the British Isles, producing ten CDs. He has also accompanied many recording artists, including Don McLean, Rosalie Sorrels, Mark Spoelstra, Sara Grey, Sally Rogers, Cathy Barton and Dave Para, Joe Hickerson, Joan Sprung, Helen Schneyer, Bob Zentz, and Harry Tuft. He is Visiting Professor at the University of Miami and Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Robert P. George hails from West Virginia, where little boys are issued 5-string banjos at birth. Like all banjo players who were trained in the tradition of Appalachian classical music (also known as “bluegrass”), his principal influence was Earl Scruggs. Aficionados also detect in his playing traces of the styles of Don Reno, Ralph Stanley, and Bill Keith. Although a traditionalist, he has been known to sneak a bit of Bela Fleck-style playing into his performances. His guitar playing is in the “thumbpicking” style of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. In high school, he played with the bluegrass and folk music ensemble known as the “Fresh Air and Simplicity Band.” At Swarthmore College, he led the bluegrass and country band “Robby George and Friends.” In recent years, he has performed country blues and bluegrass with “Blue Heart” and all sorts of different styles of music with his pal Professor Michael Smith of Princeton’s philosophy department. He is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program at Princeton University.