Trout Fishing in America,
Family Music Party
(Trout Records, 1998)

From Keith Grimwood's frenetic first words -- "Are you ready to get started?" -- I could tell that Trout Fishing in America's Family Music Party was about fun! And from my 6-year-old son's reaction to the opening song, "The Window," which propels traditional -- and not so traditional nursery rhyme characters through the panes, I knew this was one album we would play again and again.

This CD, recorded live with a studio audience for a PBS special, is full of sing-alongs that will have the wee ones learning to program the repeat button the the sound system. Favorites that we know by heart in my house include that tribute to bad hair days, "My Hair Had a Party Last Night," and the "time to go to work, time to go to school, everybody's lookin' like a fool" chorus of "Baby's Got the Car Keys."

Counting classic "18 Wheels on a Big Rig," also merits undivided attention from the elementary school crowd, mostly for the good-natured, intrasong challenges between Keith and Ezra. The 1920s tongue twister "What I Want is a Proper Cup of Coffee," also bounces along from a simmer to a boil with singing encouraged -- in multiple languages. Of course, "I Can Dance," requires movement.

The Trout duo demonstrates their understanding of children of many ages with the daydreaming lyrics of "My World," where gravity is optional and fantasies are perfectly harmonized. Anyone who's spent time with a 2-year-old will appreciate the lyrics of "Mine!"

Grimwood and Ezra Idlet's love for children and music comes through in songs such as "Count on Me," "Carry Me," "Lullaby" and "No Matter What Goes Right," songs of comfort and constancy for children, appreciated most by parents.

Musically, the two performers challenge themselves with a variety of styles, from the folksy sounds of "Pica de Gallo" to a danceable tango. They share or alternate vocals, backing themselves with Idlet's acoustic and electric guitars and Grimwood's strong bass and bass guitar. For this studio recording, Fred Bogart joins them on keyboards and mandolin and Wayne Killius plays drums and percussion. Milo Deering also adds steel guitar, violin, mandolin, and electric guitar to this performance.

Trout Fishing in America's Family Music Party includes 16 diverse tracks that meet their goal "to make music that both kids and adults can truly enjoy together."

[ by Julie Bowerman ]

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