'Trout' hooks all ages

When Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet started their strangely named act, Trout Fishing in America, more than 20 years ago, the idea was to play for adult audiences. Encouraged by friends, though, they began playing and writing for kids, too.

They still perform concerts for both audiences, but it's in fusing the two in family shows that they get to show how "good entertainment transcends age," as Mr. Idlet puts it.

What they produce, he adds, is a musical gumbo flavored with all sorts of influences - folk, rock, classical, bluegrass, and more. To this they add a good dash of humor.

Both acknowledge being fans of the Smothers Brothers, the folk singing/comedy act they grew up enjoying. "I like the way they approach life, with a lighthearted attitude," says Mr. Grimwood, who plays bass and is the straight man in the act.

Guitar-playing Idlet, meanwhile, provides levity to this Mutt-and-Jeff vocal tandem. At 6 ft., 9 in., he towers over his partner, who is 5 ft.,

5-1/2 in. While Grimwood once played with the Houston Symphony, Idlet had performed with a variety of rock and folk bands when their paths converged as members of the same folk-rock band. Today, their home base is Chester, Ark.

They've toured extensively, cut nine CDs on their own label, and played everywhere from clubs, festivals, and schools to the White House lawn for the annual Easter Egg Roll. A few years ago they taped a PBS special called "Family Music Party." That concert was turned into their first family-labeled CD.

Since they're admittedly all over the map musically, their CDs show up in a variety of music-store sections, from pop rock to kid's music. "Where I'd like to put our music," Idlet muses, "is in a big area called 'family music' or 'music that normal human beings can listen to.' "

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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