Music / Trout Fishing In America
Prolific folk-rock and children's music duo composed of guitarist Ezra Idlet and bassist Keith Grimwood. Although they made themselves known with catchy, silly songs suitable for children (but certainly listenable for adults), many of their albums also include more serious folk-rock and sometimes country fare. Despite being a total No-Hit Wonder
, they're prolific enough to have garnered four Grammy nominations.
They took their name from Trout Fishing In America
, a 1967 novella/travelogue by Richard Brautigan
They have also published two children's picture books, My Name is Chicken Joe
and Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important
, both of which include a CD of songs related to the story in the book.
Tropes present in their work:
- An Aesop: "Hard Ball" from My Name is Chicken Joe has one of these, but it meanders off to the point of approaching a Spoof Aesop...
"The moral of this story is to do what this parents tell ya'. And you can't do that, a friend's advice might help ya'. And if you can't do that all is still not lost. Take a tip from me, just be lucky with the toss!"
- The Big Easy: Not New Orleans proper, but two of their songs are themed to Louisiana: "Sing It One More Time Like That" and "Murrell's", the latter inspired by a restaurant in Shreveport.
- Censorship by Spelling: On the CD included with their picture book Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important, one of the songs is called "C-A-T in the H-E-N House." Lyrics include stuff like "There's a D-O-G in the D-O-Ghouse, wants a W-A-L-K. Dogs go C-R-A-Z-Y if that word you ever say!"
- Cerebus Roller Coaster: Serious "adult" album, funny children's album, "adult" album with softer and funnier songs… they've been everywhere.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: "When I Was a Dinosaur," "We Are the Dinosaurs."
- Fat and Skinny: Keith and Ezra, respectively. Ezra is also a good 15 inches taller.
- Heavy Sleeper: Chicken Joe, the titular main character of their Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important is actually a cat who sings that he needs "16 hours of way down deep / 16 or 17 hours of sleep / at least 16 hours of sleep..." He'd have more, but he has to eat.
- Literary Allusion Title: They're named after the Richard Brautigan book.
- Multi-Armed Multitasking: "Two Brains" plays this for laughs — in that he wishes he had more body parts to keep up with daily life.
- Must Have Caffeine: "What I Want Is a Proper Cup of Coffee".
- New Sound Album: Over the Limit was their first album not explicitly composed of children's songs. From that point onward, they began alternating between children's songs and (comparatively) more serious folk-rock.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Discussed and inverted in "The Day the Bass Players Took Over the World".
- Non-Appearing Title: "Eleven Easy Steps". The title was inspired by a playplace whose instructions claimed that it could be built in "eleven easy steps".
- Something Blues: "Day Care Blues," "Breakfast Blues," and "Dead Egyptian Blues."
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Why I Pack My Lunch" from My Name is Chicken Joe is about a guy who packs his lunch because of the bizarre stuff served in the cafeteria, such as "grilled toenails with a side of bunions, sauteed bats with lots of onions." The song includes the line "Good food's rare as Halley's Comet, but this stuff makes me want to... leave the table."
- Vocal Tag Team: They split the vocals about 50/50, although Ezra usually takes the ballads.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Some of their up-tempos go this way, such as "Spider's Fence" and "My Front Door".