Trout Fishing in America,
It's a Puzzle
(Trout, 2003)

It's wet, cold, dank, dark, FEBRUARY and if you hear one more insipid piece of trash music today, you're going to shriek. Please, calm yourself. So, that means no more Barney, Britney, Janet, Justin or any other group to lighten your purse and lower your spirits while you ply life's highways. The latest effort by Trout Fishing in America, It's a Puzzle is here to make you laugh, the children giggle at your being sometimes grossed out by lyrics on the song, "Alien in My Nose," which has sublime lyrics like, "There was an alien in my nose/an alien in my nose/And it was gross, gross, gross, gross!/There was an alien in my nose." All of the songs have lyrics and some explanatory notes accompanying them. This is great, because this will make the kids want to read the lyrics that are so thoughtfully included within the colorful CD package. You can't beat that with a stick, can you?

Trout Fishing in America is an interesting group. Prior to hearing this CD, I had heard the name, but had not thought much about them except to think that it sounded like an Alan Parson's Project-type of group. The musical partnership of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet was formed over 30 years ago. The band's name comes from a novel by Richard Brautigan, and is a clever name for two musicians unafraid to take musical chances. Not only do they have a website (see below), but they also have their mailing address, phone/order number, as well as the name and web address for their booking/management conveniently provided for those who wish to contact them for purposes of a workshop, to buy their music or just to thank them for their body of work. This group was one of the original groups to make use of the early revolution in artist-owned labels and CD production. The music is as eclectic as its performers, too.

One of the reasons this music and its lyrics are so appealing is that they are fresh, funny, definitely relevant to all of us, and smart. What kid hasn't turned up a nose at the school lunch, like in "Why I Pack My Lunch," which has as the song du jour, "The lunch bell tolls, we go bravely/To chicken knuckles with toxic gravy/Cream of tea bags, wombat pelt/Lizard lips, what's that? Smelt?/Chocolate pudding that goes crunch/Is it any wonder why I pack my lunch?" These lyrics are not meant to imply that all the lyrics/songs within this CD are gross, or even silly. "It's Gone," a song about the loss of a child's favorite toy, or "Wrong Right," a song about the ways kids screw up -- often without knowing they did, or why -- are poignant and sweet.

This is a good CD for just about anyone. It sure beats picking your nose, or cafeteria food, neither of which are mutually exclusive!

- Rambles
written by Ann Flynt
published 13 March 2004

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