Art Rosenbaum was born in 1938 in Ogdensburg, New York. He is a visual artist, musician, folklorist, author, teacher, collector, and performer of traditional American music.
His boxed set, Art of Field Recording Vol. I: Fifty Years of American Traditional Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum, won a Grammy for Best Documentary Recording in 2008. Music, he says, “was very important in my house growing up.”
He learned guitar at age 11 and quickly became obsessed with folk instruments and classic music. In addition to musical art, Art was a brilliant visual artist since high school. He went to Columbia College where he immediately jumped into folk music. He was asked to do a radio program which he called Keys to the Highway, a reference to an old blues song, when he was a senior. He would play live music and recordings of folk and blues and would host interviews with influential people in the folk music scene. At the same time, Art began doing ‘field work’ by going around recording people singing and playing traditional music. He then moved around the world to practice his various artistic mediums, traveling from France to Manhattan.
Over the years, he was able to continue to research and collect music from our past and keep in touch with the current music as well. He wrote and illustrated Folk Visions and Voices: Traditional Music and Song in North Georgia (1983), and Shout Because You’re Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition on the Coast of Georgia (1998), both published by the University of Georgia Press. His study, The Mary Lomax Ballad Book: America’s Great 21st Century Traditional Singer was published in 2013. A performer on a variety of folk instruments, he has appeared at numerous folk festivals both solo and with groups like the present-day Skillet Lickers, has cut three banjo/vocal LPs and CDs, and has written and illustrated three instruction books on traditional banjo styles.