Trout Fishing in America,
My Best Day
(Trout, 2006)

A lot of folks are familiar with Trout Fishing in America. This duo, composed of Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood, has been entertaining kids both young and old(er) for decades. Their music can mostly be thought of as folk or folk-rock, but they add in elements of jazz and blues on occasion. They have recently released a live concert CD and DVD titled My Best Day. This review focuses on the CD.

My Best Day contains 15 tracks and lasts 53 minutes. My favorite track is easily "It's a Puzzle." This lyrical tongue twister is fun to sing along with. "Isn't it a puzzle that an 'is' will be a 'was'? / In a middle of a muddle that will trickle to a flood. / Don't let the rain go and drizzle on your muzzle. / It's a puzzle that an 'is' will be a 'was' ... 'is' is 'til it isn't and then it 'was'. / 'Was' once 'was' and 'is' back when it 'was'...." If you can sing the entire song without messing up, you are better at tongue twisters than I!

As is common with live CDs, the vocals are not quite as polished as found on studio albums. However, their harmonizing can still be appreciated on tracks like "Bob & Bob." Bob and Bob are both snowflakes that are different because they are exactly alike. (You will have to listen to the song to understand a little more). Idlet and Grimwood have decent solo voices, but with harmonizing they each improve on the other.

If there is one track that gets a little old for me, it would be the final track "Beans & Weenies." The music is oldtime rock 'n' roll dominated by guitar accented with piano. I actually enjoy this part of the track. What throws it off is the occasional shout of "BEANS & WEENIES." Maybe I'm too old to get it.

At 5-foot, 1-inch, Grimwood plays bass in contrast to 6-foot, nine-inch Idlet, who plays guitar. Both artists sing and share songwriting duties. In fact, they also host songwriting workshops with children. Several of the songs, "I've Got a Friend (& He Won't Be Quiet)," "My Pants Fell Down," "Alien in My Nose" and title track "My Best Day" all came from collaborations with youngsters. For the live CD, Trout was joined by Fred Bogert on guitars, piano, accordion, cornet and vocals.

While My Best Day is certainly an enjoyable CD, the fact that it's live means something is missing. Idlet and Grimwood interact with their audiences and while you can hear people having fun in the background, you cannot see them. Without visuals, you miss out on a lot. Consequently, I prefer Trout's regular CDs to this live one. My thoughts might be different if I were reviewing the DVD. So, if you are thinking about enjoying this concert, keep that in mind.

by Wil Owen
3 February 2007

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