It seems only appropriate that the musical duo that named itself after the Richard Brautigan book Trout Fishing in America would expand its repertoire to include books. Of course, it also makes sense that any book written by a couple of folk musicians would include music.
On September 9, Trout Fishing in America musicians — Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet — kicked off a bookstore and concert tour extending through the rest of 2011 for their newly released children’s storybook and music CD package, Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important, a follow-up to their 2009 release, My Name Is Chicken Joe. Both book-and-music-CD packages were illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch and are published by The Secret Mountain, a Canadian company with offices in Montreal and Paris. Since 2003 the company has published approximately 40 book/CD packages, predominately in English and French, with one title in Spanish. The Secret Mountain is distributed in the U.S. by IPG.
Trout Fishing in America’s 2011 tour will include readings from Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important, as well as performances of the 11 songs contained on the CD. Of the 23 venues on the 21-city tour, six are bookstores: Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Ark.; Barnes & Noble, Baton Rouge, La.; That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, Ark.; Bookpeople, Austin, Tex.; and Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, Ill. More bookstore stops are expected to be added to the duo’s 2012 itinerary.
Lisa Sharp, the owner of Nightbird Books, ordered 100 copies of Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important and 30 copies of My Name Is Chicken Joe before the September 12 performance at her five-year-old store. "People love this duo live," Roland Stringer, publisher of The Secret Mountain, said, adding that his company regularly tours its musician-authors. "This is the best way to market this book."
My Name Is Chicken Joe sold nearly 1,200 copies through retail outlets, and another 3,000 copies from the stage at concerts. Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important has a 3,500 initial print run.
Other performances include a September 25 concert billed as “A Secret Mountain Celebration” at the 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre Symphony Space in New York City, where the duo will be joined by fellow singers – and Secret Mountain collaborators – Michelle Campagne, Lucy Kaplansky, and Connie Kaldor. Trout Fishing in America will performing selections from Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important, the other performers will tell stories and perform selections from their own Secret Mountain releases.
Besides the two storybook/music CD packages, Trout Fishing in America, which has been performing since 1979, has produced 20 music albums for both families and adults. They’ve been nominated four times for a Grammy Award in the best musical album for children category.
Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important by Trout Fishing in America, illus. by Stephanie Jorisch, The Secret Mountain, $16.95 Sept. ISBN 978-2923163741