The heat has finally broken. Still no frost in Arkansas, but the chilly morning temperatures are a welcome relief from the crushing heat of this summer. The smell of coffee dominates the house this morning. We have a couple more ‘lazy days’ here before we get busy with October. Poor David’s Pub, The Red River Revel (Hear the song), Clayton NM, Dumas TX, Martinsville VA, Manassas VA and Branchburg NJ. And don’t forget the Eureka Springs, AR Folk festival in early November. We’ll be doing some flying, but for most dates we’ll be driving our van, Stretch, who’s closing in on 500,000 miles very quickly.
Half a million miles seems like a good time to retire a vehicle and get a new one, especially since the brakes completely went out yesterday!
Keith and Ezra were two very different kinds of students. Keith has a degree in music and Ezra dropped out of college to play music. Ezra is always quick to point out that he and Keith have the same job! Joan Hollier, Ezra’s English teacher from high school, had a big family reunion recently. Trout was invited to perform, but our schedule kept us from making it. Ezra wrote a song and made a video for his favorite English teacher. She was a great teacher who challenged her students and treated them with respect. Ezra made lousy grades in her class, but the true measure of her teaching can be found in his love for words and communication.
We love communicating with you. Our letters are a bit of a journal as to where we are, what we’re doing, and how we’re feeling. Thanks for reading the letters and coming out to the shows. It is an amazing feeling to be talking to the children of children we played for years ago. Some of you have a long history with us and others are just finding us. Check out this adorable video from a young fan! No matter how long you’ve been a Trout fan, thanks. We’ll be seeing you sooner than later.
Keith and Ezra
PS. Honey, I shrunk the bass!
We finally did it! We made it to Idaho! That means we have now been to all 50 of the United States of America. Did you know there are white pelicans in Idaho? We sure didn’t. The first morning we were there, we saw 2 huge white birds on the Snake River. At first it wasn’t obvious what kind of birds they were. Geese? Swans? And then they turned around and there was no mistaking the profile. They were pelicans! You just never know what you’re going to find unless you go and look.
Fall is nearly upon us, but there are still a few more festivals left. Last week we played at the Roots Festival in Fayetteville, AR. If you were there, you know how much fun it was. If you missed out, you can still hear our set online at Folk Alley.com.
It’s almost September and that means it’s time for Michael Hearne’s Big Barndance Festival out in Taos, NM. Great music, dancing, and the scenery is fabulous. This October we will return to The Red River Revel, a great festival in Shreveport, LA. In November we’ll be making our second appearance at the Eureka Springs Folk Festival in Arkansas. In checking our calendar, it looks like we’ll be visiting 10 different states between now and the end of the year. Come on out and see what you can find.
Keith and Ezra
On the last day of the concerts during the train trip, just after we finished our first set, David Enke presented a gorgeous fretless guitar to Ezra. Ezra had a David Enke fretless guitar that was stolen back in January. David said, “you have an angel.” After our van was stolen, an anonymous person contacted David and commissioned a new fretless guitar for Ezra. There are not words enough to describe the joy and gratitude this kind act inspired.
Last month we went to Alamosa, CO to play for our third year in a row for the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. This is one of the highlights of our summer travel. This year we were paired with the Berrymans a “formerly married” folk duo from Wisconsin. Some of you long time Trout fans might remember that Lou and Peter Berryman wrote the song “It’s Better Than That” from our Grammy nominated CD, “inFINity.” If you’re a fan of smart and funny songwriting, you should check these folks out. Peter’s Troutword Puzzle By the way, Peter is a crossword puzzle enthusiast and designer. He created a TFIA crossword. Click Troutword Puzzle to print out. We hope you enjoy it!
(The clue to “54 ACROSS” refers to “entering Alamosa” which might be too obscure. Try “______ Goodnight”)
Idaho – here we come!
A couple of days ago we did an interview with a reporter from Idaho. She sounded a bit skeptical about how excited we are to be coming to Idaho. I guess we were gushing and going on and on about how we’ve been wanting to get there for years. After all, it will be the 50th state we’ve been to! She ended up by wishing us well, saying she hopes it turns out to be all we expect it to be.
Yesterday, we played a show at the Fayetteville, AR Public Library for the end of their Summer Reading Program. We hadn’t done a show here since we played at the grand opening back in 2004. WOW! It was awesome! A ton of people showed up. The parking garage filled and people parked along the streets for blocks around. The kids were fantastic and the folks at the Library were wonderful! Later this month, we’ll be doing another show in Fayetteville at the Roots Festival. This year’s event looks to be over the top amazing. We’re really looking forward to it, too. It’s great to look this forward to your job. Thank all of you for making it possible!
Keith and Ezra
If you’ve been to our shows recently, you’ve heard our new tune, “Don’t Touch My Stuff.” This is the song we wrote in response to having our van and all of our equipment stolen back in January. If you’re looking for a way to add this to your music collection, “Don’t Touch My Stuff” is now available on iTunes, CDBaby or any of your favorite download sites! The song could make an excellent ring tone for your smart phone. If you were smart enough, you could figure out a way for the song to play whenever an unauthorized person tried to access your computer. Also on iTunes you’ll find Banjos on the Moon and The Very Best Thing. These 3 songs are only available as digital downloads.
Climb on Board!
There’s a lot of excitement coming up for us in the next couple of months. You may have heard us talking about how much we love the train shows we’ve done in Colorado the past couple of years. Well that’s coming up again next week. We’ll be leaving Alamosa, CO on a Rio Grande Scenic Line steam train and playing shows in Fir, CO. You might have difficulty finding Fir on a map because you can only get to it by train, hiking, or horseback. This train is the best. Come ride with us and enjoy the scenery and the music. In case you’re concerned, this is a part of CO that is NOT on fire! In August we will be appearing in IDAHO! Finally!! It’s the only state we’ve never been to so we can’t tell you much about the show. But, we are going and we’ll take pictures to prove we were there.
We’re writing this letter on the 3rd of July. By the time you get it, we will be hoping all of you had a safe and happy holiday. Heck, we hope we’ve had a safe and happy holiday. We won’t be lighting any fireworks here in AR. It’s too dang dry!
Keith and Ezra
Guess who’s going to Idaho?!? That’s right. For years we have yammered on and on about how we’d been to 49 states, but had never been to Idaho. We even wrote song verses about it. “Do you want to know why I wanna go to Idaho, gotta go to Idaho, I haven’t been there…” from It’s A Puzzle. Trout Fishing in America has ‘of-FISH-ally’ accepted an invitation to play in Idaho Falls, Idaho this August. We hear August is a great time to be in Idaho. Of course we wouldn’t know since we’ve never been there. It’s only taken 36 years to figure out how to get there!
Thanks to the Peters family who were on a trip and decided to take a four hour detour just to take this photo! We love a spontaneous family.
Incredible as it may be, this summer will mark 36 years of writing songs and playing music together. June 2012 will also mark the 20th anniversary of our move from Houston, TX to northwest Arkansas. Appropriately enough, we’ll be playing a show on Father’s Day (June 17th) at the Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, AR. If you haven’t been here, you should go. If you have been here, you should go back. (It’s free.) This is truly an amazing place and a Trout concert is just the excuse you need to get the whole family there!
We hope everybody has a great summer. It’s time to get out and have some fun. Maybe do something you’ve never done. Hey, that rhymes – we talkin’ good times. If you’re looking for vacation ideas, our performance menu is full of wonderful ideas! How about a ride on a steam train in scenic Colorado? How about a stroll through the lovely Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania? Or how about a fishing trip to an exotic place like…IDAHO! You seriously can’t go wrong with any or all of these choices. See you there!
Keith and Ezra
When we lived in Houston, it was pretty common to see the Goodyear blimp. The blimp was parked near Spring, TX just off of I-45. It was still magical to watch that old technology in action. Friends from out of town would visit and they’d go nuts seeing something that was pretty common for us. Last week, when we played in Maryland, we flew into Dulles Airport. There on the runway was the space shuttle on top of an airplane! If you fly in and out of Dulles all the time, it might be commonplace for you to see this.
It was awe inspiring to look out our window and see one of the most amazing pieces of space equipment casually hanging out at the airport.
A New Song Lands In Our Laps
By now, it’s old news that our van and our gear was stolen back in January. We’ve gotten pretty much back to normal. Our new teddy bear, Charles (Chuck for short) Beary has been doing a stellar job singing “Teddy Bear’s Picnic”. We’ve gotten some of our instruments back, most notably the electric banjo! Oddly, there were quite a few good things that came from this experience. The offers for and actual help we got from all over the country eased us through the difficulties of dealing with our loss. The most recent good thing that came from our experience is a new song. “Don’t Touch My Stuff!” Some songs just write themselves. This tune just landed in our laps. It features a cathartic vocal performance from Keith and Ezra grooving on his beloved electric banjo! It turns out that more than a few of us can identify with the feeling. The tune has inspired both children’s and adult audiences.
Consensus In Our Audiences
There are lots of good things about doing what we do. One of the best moments is when we see consensus with adult and children’s audiences about the music we play. It can be surprising to someone who is used to seeing adult and children’s concerts done separately. For us, it’s as common as watching the blimp take off next to I-45, but every bit as magical.
Keith and Ezra
Re-united and it feels so good…” In 1978, Peaches and Herb sang these lyrics to a song written by Dino Fekaris & Freddie Perren. It seems appropriate to mention since, thanks to E-Bay and the Houston Police Department, we have been re-united with some of our stolen equipment. Last month, we told you that our van, Stretch, had been found. In spite of his advanced odometer reading (467,000+ miles) it is good to have him back. Then Al Price of Nechville Banjos spotted Ezra’s banjo on E-Bay. It was creepy looking at it sitting there on somebody else’s couch. We notified the Houston Police Department and they put a different kind of bid on it.Through a bit more investigation they also found Ezra’s Renaissance 6-string guitar at a local pawn shop. “We’d like to thank Sam and Walter Bryan for picking up and delivering these two instruments to us. You can just imagine how excited Keith was about the banjo’s return. It’s like a bad banjo joke. If thieves steal all of a band’s musical instruments, which one is the most likely to be returned? THE BANJO! There are a lot of items still missing, but we are grateful to at least have some of it back. Ro-Bear, we miss you!
After a very mild winter, spring planting has begun. The Grimwoods upheld their tradition of planning potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day. Lettuce, beets, peas, and onions are in the ground. Catnip, a very important crop for keeping the Grimwood kitties happy, is also doing well. The Idlets have another fabulous garden started. It takes 3 growing seasons to be able to eat asparagus. For years the Idlets have grown it, eaten it, and enjoyed it while Keith has been quietly envious of their success. Yesterday, Keith ate the only asparagus spear he has ever managed to grow. It was planted in a broken washing machine as part of his Dead Appliance Recycling gardening experiment. It was delicious!
Keith and Ezra
‘Stretch’ has returned! The Houston Police Department found our missing van in a lot with a couple of other stolen vehicles. Our old friends at Remmert’s Automotive in the Heights fixed him up and Keith drove him back to Arkansas. Of course almost all of the musical equipment, Ro Bear, the juggling gear, and even Keith’s boots were gone. They did leave some things. They apparently did not like the Trout CDs or any music we listen to in the van. They did take kids T-shirts and Chicken Joe books. Go figure… The thieves unsuccessfully tried to pry a speaker out of the van, and left us their pry bar.
We have been performing an informal exorcism ritual on Stretch to get rid of all of the bad vibes. He’s been cleaned, washed, polished, and given an oil change. Over 467,000 miles on the odometer and he’s never been cleaner or more appreciated!
Before any of this happened, we suspected that our friends and fans were some of the finest people on the planet. Now we know it’s true. The outpouring of sympathy, love, and support has been awesome! The good people in the world still outnumber the bad. People everywhere have offered assistance of every kind. Our Facebook page has been full of messages of encouragement. Jim Scoggan has provided Keith with a bass bow. JT Huff supplied a PA system. Presidential Conversions supplied a van for our trip to Midland. The number of Teddy Bear offerings alone is enough to choke anybody up. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! We do have spare amps and instruments and we’re getting more. And we do have a new Teddy Bear. His name is Charles Beary. We call him Chuck for short. He would love to meet you.
After a bit of time off for recovery, Trout is about to get into full swing again. We have upcoming shows in AR, CA, IN, all over LA, MD, TX, VA (with our good friends at Center Stage), and many more. Come out to Poor David’s Pub in Dallas for their Anniversary Celebration. Be an April Fool with us at the Mucky Duck in Houston. Festival Season is on the horizon, leading off with Jiggle Jam in Kansas City, Riverfest in Little Rock, and The Kerrville Folk Festival.
Keith would like to wish his Mom a Happy 90th Birthday on March 7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!
Keith and Ezra
UPDATE: The police found the van with two other stolen vehicles in an apartment parking lot on the east side of Houston off I10. It was a mess inside, and all the instruments are gone, but they left a couple mic stands. After a repair to the door lock and steering column at Remmerts in the Houston Heights – where we use to take “Robert RedFord”, “Stretch” is back home.
We’re just back from what should have been a great trip to Texas. Our performances and workshops with Trout and Wheatfield went even better than expected. It would have been the perfect trip, except that our van and all of its contents were stolen! Imagine the surprise and shock when Keith went out to the parking lot of the hotel and there was no van waiting. We’re still coming up with things that are missing as a result of the theft. At first, it was just the instruments that we were thinking about. Then we thought about the PA and the amplifiers. Our dolly (Salvadore) was in the back of the truck. There were boxes of t-shirts and CDs.
We came to grips with all of this. Then we remembered, Ro Bear!!!!!!! They got Ro Bear!!!! What a surprise for Ro, when he woke up from his overnight hibernation to strangers pawing through his home. We can see him summarily lifted from his box of cables and tossed aside as the thieves dug through looking for valuables. Those bad people had no idea who they were leaving behind.
The outpouring of love and support from our friends and fans has been overwhelming. Pictures of our instruments have been shared on Facebook and across the web. Our friend Chris Hirsch (banjo player extraordinaire) created a web page for our instruments. Folks from all over have offered to lend us equipment including a box van to drive around in! We do have insurance on most of our stuff and our van. In the long run, it is only stuff. Special stuff to be sure, but we know that whatever instruments we play, through whatever amps and PA we play through, it will still be us.
A lot of you have asked us how you can help us through this. The best thing you could do is to come out to our shows and enjoy the music. If you bought CDs and t-shirts for yourselves and your friends, we all win. Our next gig is Saturday, Feb 4th, in Bartlett, TN at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center. After that, we’ll be at the Yucca Theater in Midland, TX.
Something that’s totally getting lost with the stolen stuff news is that Ezra went on a guided fishing trip in south Texas and caught some, “epic” speckled trout! Thanks to Jay Watkins for putting us where the fish were!
Keith and Ezra
This is a story done by our local TV station about my treehouse! Thanks to Mitch Roberts and Channel 5 for doing the story. Also notice my very handsome hoodie! It was a Christmas present from my son. Click HERE
For a slideshow we did of the progress on the treehouse check out the Kids page on our website or Click HERE. (When you see the slide with me and my two kids, you realize how long this project has taken. My son is now 6’11″. )