This year Trout Fishing in America celebrates 30 years of writing, recording and performing children’s acoustic music — possibly one of the longest surviving partnerships in North America.
But the four-time Grammy-nominated Keith Grimwood (vocals/bass) and Ezra Idlet (vocals/guitar) just keep spreading their infectious brand of wacky humour and will make a tour stop at the Arden Theatre on Saturday, March 6.
Trout’s release Big Round World was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award. That year the duo also hit a milestone with their 20th release My Name is Chicken Joe, a book/CD by Canadian publisher The Secret Mountain.
Chicken Joe, a folk/pop/country hybrid was actually inspired by one of Grimwood’s nine cats who likes to sleep in the warm chicken coop. Intrigued by the cat’s peculiarities and the bizarre names people foist on animals, the duo targeted young readers with an 11-track songbook.
“It was so successful we’re planning another Chicken Joe. The second one will have about 15 songs. We’re still trying to nail them down,” says Grimwood.
Much of the Arkansas duo’s lyrical appeal stems from catchy lyrics and diverse melodies that never condescend. “It’s important to make music that turns kids on, but it’s just as important to make music that turns parents on,” Idlet explains.
At first glance, they look incongruous. Idlet stands six-foot-nine while Grimwood barely hits five-foot-six. But it’s their different personalities and zany chemistry that create a magnetic draw. “When we do a kids’ show, I’m the adult. Ezra’s a child. He’s an extrovert and a flake. I’m more introverted,” laughs Grimwood.
“Ezra can spend all day in a studio. He’s more technically creative than I am. I’m more of a writer. Ezra lives in the country and works with tools. I live close to the city and like culture and poetry.”
They first met back in 1979 as members of the Houston-based eclectic folk/rock band St. Elmo’s Fire. Their artistic tastes and sensibilities clicked. When the band dissolved, they resurrected themselves as Trout.
“Houston at that time was a real melting pot of music, country, blues, zydeco, classical, folk and rock. All those elements show up in our music.”
“It’s hard to stay with one thing and that’s why it’s so great to make music with kids,” Idlet adds.
Are they disappointed at not winning a Grammy? Both are philosophic. While taking home the golden gramophone would be nice, just rubbing shoulders with Mary J. Blige, John Mayer and Paul McCartney is big.
As Idlet puts it, “I live outside a small town with one stop. To go from a bitty little town to Staples Center in Los Angeles is pretty cool.”
Grimwood finishes by saying, “When you come back from the Grammys, you want to work harder. You want to feel you deserve to be in that company. I came back inspired and I’ve been writing ever since. It makes you want to be part of it.”
Visit www.troutmusic.com for more information.
Trout Fishing in America
Saturday, March 6 at 2 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $20/adults; $18/children
Call 780-459-1542 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca