We are very proud to note Performing Songwriter Magazine( June 2008), has chosen three time Grammy Nominees, Trout Fishing in America as one of the 100 most influential independent artists in the past fifteen years. Sandwiched in the pages between Phish, and Widespread Panic, Trout Fishing in America could not be more pleased with company that included, such independent music luminaries as Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Ani DiFranco, David Byrne, Tom Waits, Bradford Marsalis, Alison Krauss , Jimmy Buffett, Steve Earle to name a few.
In 1989, Trout Fishing in America celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a show at the Washington Avenue Showbar in Houston, TX. We invited former Trout players Rom Rosenblum, Orville Strickland, and Bill Berger to join us that night. We set up a display of pictures and other Trout memorabilia on 3 or 4 tables in the lobby. At that point, the idea that we had been playing together as Trout for such a “long” time was amazing! We (Ezra and Keith) played together from 1976-1979 in St Elmo’s Fire, and even did some small shows for kids at schools and for adults in cafes as Trout. When St Elmo’s Fire broke up in 1979, we became Trout full time.
1979 to 2019 is 40 years! 40 years?!? You’ve got to be kidding!! Ten years seemed like an eternity at the time. Never would we have imagined that it might last so long and do so well. We even remember a discussion (read: argument) we had back in the late 70’s. Ezra was winning the argu…discussion, but Keith was not wavering from his point of view. Legend has it that Keith said, “Man, I won’t even know you in 10 years, so it really doesn’t matter!” It’s like a curse descended upon us. We became gum stuck to each other’s shoe, except in a good way.
We are reminiscing about our lengthy career and have decided to celebrate 2019 as our 40th year of Trout! If you’re going to look at the entire 40 years, you should start with the earliest recordings. We dusted off our vinyl projects (1980’sYou Bore Me to Death & 1982’s Hot to Trout) and our cassette projects (1987’s Yes, the Fish Music & 1988’s Stark Raving Trout). We chose 12 songs to represent these 4 albums and will soon be releasing a limited-edition CD called The Dusty Dozen. We are also re-recording, as a duo, some of our favorite songs and some others that got lost in the shuffle. They will be released in the future as double CD called 40 Years of Trout, or something like that.
When going through life, you mostly just live it without paying a lot of close attention. It’s kinda cool, but really no big deal. Looking back on those very same times from this perspective, they all seem dear and precious. Thanks for being a part of the Trout experience. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the PRESENT. This month we will be playing shows mostly in Texas and Louisiana. They may be kinda cool for now but will become treasures as the years go by!
The last few weeks have been spent working on hooking up the new Trout House studio. The building part of the studio is complete and man, it will be a wonderful space to record in! Our old studio was really primitive. How primitive? Our old ‘isolation booth’ was a bathroom. Now that’s primitive!
For climate control, there was a tiny and very noisy window air conditioner. In the summer, we’d crank it up as high as it would go for about 20 minutes. After that, you could record for about 10 minutes in relatively quiet comfort. After about 15 minutes, the studio would be hot. After about 25 minutes, it would be unbearable and we’d start the process all over again. The new studio has three rooms (one of which is an isolation booth without a toilet) and quietly efficient climate control! The last hurdle is getting all of the wiring set up so buttons can be pushed and music can be made!
It’s August and that means it’s Ezra’s birthday month. Come on out and wish him a happy birthday. We’ll be playing some of our favorite places as well as a few new spots, at least new to us. The first part of the month, we’ll be close to home in Grove, OK and Ft. Smith, AR. We leave in the middle of the month for Dayton, OH where we’ll be playing this particular Levitt Pavilion for our first time! After that, it’s on to Columbia, MD where we’ll be making our first appearance at the Soundry. On the 17th, Trout will be returning to the lovely Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. And then, we return to the Philadelphia Folk Festival on the 18th and 19th.
We’ve got plenty of projects planned for our 40th year of being Trout Fishing in America. (Yes, it has been 42 years since we starting working together, but only the last 40 have been officially TROUT) Stay tuned for breaking news. Real news, not that other stuff! Thanks for taking the time to read our stuff, listen to our music, and for supporting us.
July is here and July is officially Birthday Month, at least as far as our wives are concerned. July of 2018 is an extra-special Birthday Month as both of our wives have reached that golden age of retirement. They have both decided to act on this retirement thing.
Karen, Ezra’s wife, has been working for Trout Fishing in America since about the time Dana was born.
Without Karen… I can’t even imagine how our career might have gone. Trout life would have been ever so chaotic over the years without her dedication and sense of organization. Thank you, Karen! She will be turning much of the business side of Trout over to our friend and new employee, Susan Billimek. Tough shoes to fill, but we are excited to have some fresh new ideas to explore. Welcome, Susan!
My wife, Beth, is retiring after 17 years at West Fork Elementary School. “Ms Beth” (as she is affectionately known in these parts) ran the computer lab and served as a crossing guard, interacting with every kid in school. She’s great with the little ones and has been a wonderful children’s advocate. But after this July birthday, most of those attentions will be redirected toward our grandkids, Jameson (age 4 years) and Willow (age 2 months). That and waiting on me, hand and foot, of course! Congratulations, Beth. Great job!
Ezra and I are ignoring the numbers attached to our ages. We are NOT retiring. I repeat, WE ARE NOT RETIRING. In July, we have shows in Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Nevada. In August, we have shows in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. And the Pennsylvania show is at none other than the Philadelphia Folk Festival! There are so many songs to write and sing, and record. We are embarking on a retrospective project about our 40 years of Trout. Ezra has been hard at work, putting the new recording studio together. I’ve been staying out of his way. Sometimes not helping is the biggest help. You should come out and see us if you get a chance. After all, even though we are NOT retiring, nothing lasts forever.
How’s your summer going? Are you staying cool, or at least hydrated? Our summer is rocking along. The Grimwoods are enjoying time with their 4-year old grandson, Jameson, and their brand new granddaughter, Willow!
The Idlets have moved into their new house and are no longer living in a trailer! The ticks are terrible this year, but the gardens are looking great! Trout had a blast playing at NO Jazz & Heritage Fest, the Wildflower Festival, and the Kerrville Folk Festival. (Congratulations to our friend, Rich Krueger, a Kerrville New-Folk winner this year!) And things are just getting started. We’ll be in Austin at Bubblepalooza this weekend and at the Dallas Zoo for Safari Nights later in June. The Philadelphia Folk Festivalis on tap for August and August will be here before you know it! We have many library shows lined up and some club dates, too. Check our calendar for upcoming Trout events in your area!
This morning, the sky in Arkansas is an amazing shade of blue. Our friend Skip would have looked up at and declared that you could only get this kind of blue in the Ozarks. This blue sky brings back memories of fishing trips and conversations with Skip. It’s constantly amazing how sensory perception brings up deep memories and feelings. For Ezra, it brings back the time he spent building his tree house. For Keith, the blue skies of summer always mean baseball. Ezra tells a birthday story of when his grandmother gave him a choice to either have a cake or all the ice cold watermelon he and his friends could eat. He chose the watermelon feast and the smell of fresh cut watermelon still takes him back to summertime in rural Maryland under the apple tree that held his first treehouse.
Music can do the same thing. A song on the radio or a hummed tune can bring back entire scenarios, times of life, and deep emotions. Many of you have shared happy stories of families listening to our music. It never gets old to hear how our music has affected people. At the risk of sounding extremely sappy, it is a privilege to do what we do. Thank you all for letting us into your lives. We hope to see you down the road.
May is a big transition month for the Idlet family. Ezra and Karen have moved out of the Airstream trailer and into their new house! The Grimwood family welcomes Willow Tayebeh, their newborn grand daughter. If you see days off on our calendar, know that we are making the most of them at home. We’re still riding high after our two performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. We’ll be bringing some of that energy with us to Texas. We’ll see you there!
The month of March came in like a lion and left like a very wet lion this year. So much for that lamb thing. It’s April, it’s still cold, and I want to be warm again! I hear some ‘lucky’ people still have snow. We have rain. Lots of rain. My garden looks like a rice paddy. Or a crawfish farm. We took a bit of a holiday break for Easter this year and I swore I’d put in my garden during this time off. I was thinking potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, lettuce, okra, zucchini…not rice and crawfish! Although on second thought, a bit of crawfish étouffée might be tasty for lunch.
Exciting events are unfolding in the coming months for Keith (that’s me) and Ezra (that’s the other guy). On April 8th, we will be playing with Mike Sumler (on keys) and J.T. Huff (on guitar) as the Outliers in Eureka Springs, AR at Chelsea’s. Ezra will be playing drums and I’ll be on bass. (On a side note- did you notice MLB season has begun!?! Go Astros!) Then we pack it up and head out to California with Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds. Trout will also be doing a kids show at McCabe’s Guitars in Santa Monica, CA. (More Trout and Birds dates below!) To close out April, we’ll be at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival! Yeah baby! We might find a bit of crawfish étouffée there, y’think? Or Crawfish bisque, jambalaya, boiled crawfish, fried crawfish. It might be time for lunch around here.
We are also very excited about returning to KindieComm in Philadelphia, PA this year. KindieComm is a gathering of independent children’s performers and entertainers. We meet and talk about the music industry and how it relates to kids. This is super important as kids are the future! People keep forgetting that and it’s not a point to be taken lightly. The Host of KindieComm is the inimitable Kathy O’Connell of WXPN’s Kids Corner. If you haven’t heard her show, you really should. It is awesome, she is awesome! Check out this article for a peek into Kathy World! On Saturday April 21, we have an on-stage interview called In the Spotlight with Kathy in the morning. Then around noon, she’ll be interviewing Dr. Demento! Oh, we are truly in good company. On Sunday, April 22 we’ll be celebrating The Kids Corner 30th Anniversary Concert at World Cafe Live with a public performance along with Billy Kelly and Lard Dog and the Band of Shy. It’s gonna be a blast, but you’ll probably have to bring your own crawfish étouffée. Be sure to bring enough to share.
Then and now is the theme of this newsletter. Then: Poor Davids Pub was on Greenville Ave in Dallas, TX. It was a scary place to play at first because it seemed like the best songwriters played there. It took a few times, but with the help of KERA and KNON radio stations the word got out and we started drawing a crowd. We’re coming back to Poor David’s on March 2nd to help them celebrate 41 years of presenting fine music and great times. The club has changed locations, but it has retained it’s spirit.
Another Legendary Venue
Now the first time we played Swallow Hill in Denver, we had a similar experience to playing Poor David’s. Swallow Hill is a legendary live music venue that has been a major part of their music community for years. We’re going to be playing Swallow Hill now as Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds on March 15th.This will be the Birds first time to play Swallow Hill. This is a show you shouldn’t miss.
Then… It was the band Wheatfield where Keith and Ezra started writing songs and playing music together way back in 1976. Wheatfield will be doing a lightning quick tour of Texas at the end of March. We’ll be at the Mucky Duck in Houston on the 23rd and the Barker House concert series in Austin on the 25th. Trout and Glorious Birds will be at a lot of other places this month. Please check our calendar for additional dates and times. We hope to see you out there!
As I begin this letter, it’s Super Bowl Sunday! I was going to write it on Groundhog Day, but when Punxsutawney Phil delivered his terrible news (I used to like groundhogs), I was just too distressed. But now it’s Super Bowl Sunday and I’m set to go. Ezra and I have radically different approaches to the game. If you ask Ezra about it, he’ll ask you who’s playing. I’m not a huge football fan, but I do know who’s playing and I’m prepared to watch. I have a giant pizza in the fridge. I have guacamole and salsa and chips. I also have carrots and celery in case I go absolutely crazy! I have cheese that I brought home from Holland and crackers that I brought home from WalMart. My Christmas Soda Stream is cranking out fizzy beverages that I will mix with fruit juices. (Some parts of my Super Bowl ritual have changed drastically in recent years). And best of all, I don’t care who wins! I pick winners so rarely that fans of both the Eagles and the Patriots have requested that I please not pull for their team so they might stand a chance.
We’re all over the map!
At this point in the letter, I like to do a bit of an overview of upcoming gigs. I try and find a pattern I can mention, a trend, something distinctive the reader might hang onto. Instead, I encourage you to visit our calendar section for yourself as there’s no way to make sense of it in a paragraph. We have shows in Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Colorado, and California coming up with Trout Fishing in America, Dana Louise, and even a few Wheatfield shows in March. These are wonderful venues with many really cool people like yourself. Come on out and meet them and hear our music.
We had a lovely 2-week trip to The Netherlands playing music with Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds. For our most awesome gig, we played inside a windmill. Loved visiting Amsterdam. Dutch cheese rocks! I loved the raw herring, while Ezra preferred the pickled herring. We got to visit several fantastic museums and even some creepy abandoned WWII Nazi bunkers along the Atlantic Wall. To close the letter, we’d like to thank Ian for a couple of jokes he sent to us. Q- What time do ducks get up? A- At the quack of dawn. AND – Have you read the book on anti-gravity? It’s impossible to put down. Thanks Ian! We needed that!
It’s hard to imagine we’re closing out 2017. This year has disappeared so quickly. Trout is on the final leg of its new CD release tour. After this weekend in Houston, TX, we will have two performances left. On Dec 7th, we’ll be at the beautiful new Sunrise Stage in Fayetteville, AR. This room has been designed to give an intimate audience the best listening experience possible. No expense was spared on the acoustic design of this venue! Trout will be making its debut in Johnson City, TX on Dec 9th. It’s a house concert and we want to fill that house with people and music. Both of these venues have limited seating, so make your reservations early. As a bonus for those of you who attend this months concerts, we’ll have our new CD, “The Strangest Times”, on sale for $10.
It’s that time of year when we bring out our “Proper Cup of Coffee” coffee. This fine blend is roasted in local volcanoes by our indigenous hill folk. It’s the perfect holiday gift! Click here to see the video.
Thanks to all of you who come out to see us. We are grateful for your support. You make it possible for us to be who we are. We hope you will bring Trout home to share with your friends and family. Take 15% off all items (applies to all Trout merchandise except single bag orders of coffee). Use promo code TFIA15 at the checkout page on our website. We have FREE Shipping too.
Have a great holiday and we will be in touch next year!
Q – WHY DO SKELETONS HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM?
A – THEY HAVE NO BODY TO LOVE
Holy Mole-y! Holiday Season is upon us. How did that happen? There is no denying it. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve are heading your way like a runaway freight train. Notice, they put the scary holiday 1st! In the time-honored tradition of Halloween, we’d like to share our video of the song “BOO!” with you. It is undoubtedly the scariest song we’ve ever written. Click on it if you dare! Bwaa-haa-haa!!
And don’t even begin to sweat gift-giving this year. Your friends at Trout Fishing in America are here to help with CD’s, kid’s books, T-shirts, and even our Holiday Christmas CD, “Merry Fishes to All” will be included with every order! This year give Trout, the gift that keeps on giving.
We’re coming your way TX,OK,MN,AZ,and AR!
2017 is not over yet and we are planning to finish this year with a flourish. First, we head to Grand Prairie, TX to see our good friends at the lovely Uptown Theater before dropping in at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City. Both places are great live music venues! Our weirdest trip of the season is a jaunt to Minnesota in November. (Minnesota Postcard, maybe?) That’s a little out of our usual range, so if you know anyone in the area, please tell them to come see us. Then we will be returning to Arizona for five big dates later in November. For those of you in Arkansas, we have two more shows for you this year. We will be playing our annual family show at Adventure Subaru in Fayetteville on Nov 28. Then on December 7, we are looking forward to a special evening concert at the awesome, new Sunrise Guitar Stage in Fayetteville.
And here’s a final bit of news. There is a new movie release called Parker’s Anchor that features both the music of Trout Fishing in America and Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds. We haven’t seen it yet, BUT we got this note the other day from the filmmaker. WOW!!! If you live anywhere near Fayetteville, AR please check out Parker’s Anchor at the AMC Fiesta Square.
I am very excited to tell you that Our movie (you are included in that “our”) will be at AMC Fiesta Square starting this Friday Oct 27th. Please help us spread the word. We are excited to show AMC that local films will be supported if they carry them in their theater. Tickets are available to purchase now.
Hope to see you at the theater. Ryan Schwartzman
Parker’s Anchor – Trailer
Parker’s Anchor – Trailer
Q- WHY DO DEMONS AND GHOULS HANG OUT TOGETHER? A – BECAUSE DEMONS ARE A GHOULS BEST FRIEND