- Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 5:30 p.m.
- Strings Music Festival, 900 Strings Road, (Corner of Mt. Werner Rd & Pine Grove Rd), Steamboat Springs
/ $1 - $10
Steamboat Springs Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet have been playing music together for more than 30 years.
If you had told one of them that would be the case 30 years ago - and if you had mentioned much of that time performing would be in front of children - you would have caught the duo a bit off-guard.
Coming from a classical music background, Grimwood started playing in a folk band with Idlet after an orchestra union lockout. Before long, they had a chance to start playing shows for elementary school children.
Since then, the duo, under the Richard Brautigan-inspired moniker Trout Fishing in America, has put out more than a dozen records, garnering three Grammy nominations. On Tuesday, they'll play two concerts for the Strings Music Festival, sharing songs such as "My Hair Had a Party Last Night" and "Day Care Blues."
Grimwood talked to 4 Points about where he gets his children's music material, what he appreciates about the genre and what he and Idlet bring to it.
4 Points: How did you end up playing children's music?
Keith Grimwood: We were traveling around the country and playing music more or less for our peers, and some of those people happened to be teachers. They asked us to come and play in the school to show the kids that music is made not just by the radio or the TV, that it was played by regular people.
Mind you, we didn't know any kids songs. We played The Beatles, we played the blues, we played folk music, and the kids loved it. The response is so immediate when you play for kids.
But we didn't really write music for kids until we had kids of our own. : One of the main things you need to know is that we play music for adults still, and we play music for kids, and we play family concerts.
4 Points: When you're writing a song for a younger audience, what do you do differently?
KG: If you're writing songs for kids, you're not writing love songs. If you do a love song they get all grossed out.
I think the adult show tends to rock a little harder, and maybe has longer solo sections. Kids don't have the attention span or patience for a long guitar solo or a bass solo, they're not interested in that.
The subject matter kind of deals more with what kids would be into. It would be either what we observed from kids or what we remember from being kids. Having a son around reminded me so much of my own childhood, things I had completely forgotten about.
4 POINTS: Is there anything about writing music for children that you like better than writing for adults?
KG: When you're writing for kids, you don't have to narrow yourself down to one kind of music. For adults, you have to have a category, you're a blues band or a rock band or a folk band. But with kids you can play a tango, you can play a waltz, you can play a rocker - it's all under this umbrella of kids music.
4 POINTS: Do your different musical backgrounds feed into that umbrella of styles?
KG: We grew up in the Houston area, and that's kind of a melting pot if you think about it, there's so many musical styles coming out of there.
Plus in our day, back in the day, they played on Top 40 radio so many different kinds of music at all times. They would play Jimi Hendrix right next to Wayne Newton. In the old days that used to be all mixed up, and that's kind of what we did, we took everything we grew up with.