A folk band at heart, they mix in a lot of other styles. Known as much now for playful kids’ music and family shows, the Grammy-nominated group also touches on darker themes in music for adults.
The balance they’ve struck keeps them from “frustration and violence,” Idlet jokes.
“To see adults and their kids dancing is great … the general exuberance,” he says.
Grimwood and Idlet lifted the band name from Richard Brautigan’s 1960s novel. With Idlet on guitar, Grimwood on standup bass and both singing, they say they keep fresh because they are different musically and in personality.
“There’s not competition between us on any level,” Grimwood says. “We share a love of different kinds of music, and we’re well-versed in different styles.
“We enjoy what we do, and that they’re still letting us do this after all these years.”
Any particular key to surviving such close quarters?
“Books on tape,” Grimwood says without hesitation.
The group originated in 1977 in Houston, where Idlet was in a folk band and Grimwood played for the Houston Symphony. In the early 1990s, they moved to northwest Arkansas.
They’ve released 10 CDs – five for adults, five for kids and families – on their own Trout Records, based in nearby Prairie Grove, and just headed back into the studio to work on another family CD.
Not having a major label running interference for them is just fine.
“The idea that somebody is not taking part of my paycheck is killing me,” Idlet said. “It’s really nice to make a record, sell it, pay royalties to yourself. It’s been a really great way to go.”
Trout Fishing’s last release, inFINity, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 for musical album for children. It slyly introduces young listeners to an array of styles – from funk to jazz to African rhythms – all built onto the group’s basic folk style. In some tunes, they play with a full band.
Their most recent release for adults is Closer To The Truth, from 1999.