Folk Plus airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on WJFF following NPR's Car Talk.
Trout Fishing : MINE live.
Keith: Hi Angela.
Angela : How was getting here?
Keith: It was exciting; we got to tour the countryside. We took a wrong turn in liberty. Iím not sure if thatís possible to do, but we did it.
Ezra: We didnít see any deer, which was good. We were told to watch out for kamikaze deer. We ARE seeing snow.
A: Not a lot. This is nothing. Two weeks ago we had about four feet on the ground, its all melted.
E: But we live in Arkansas, so this right now is like a huge snow day.
K: Schools would be out today for us.
A: (Laughing) Its just floating around in the air. You guys must to a lot of driving.
K: We do.
E: We usually fly to a central location and then drive out of there. Like we flew to Ohio and drove around O for a little bit, then to Newark and we will drive around this area for a bit, we will fly back home and just kinda hang out. We got spring break coming up actually.
A: So youíd be great to give advice on buying a car. You have probably rented so many cars.
K: I wouldnít buy any car we had rented, Ill tell you that.
E: We drive hard.
A: I wanted to keep it a surprise you were coming live to play live for my partner John. You truly are one of his favorite bands. He can drive over now if he wants.
KĒ John, Happy Birthday!
A: We will be there to see you tonight, you are in the area. Wanna talk about why?
K: We are going to play over at the Mansion House in Middletown. We went there yesterday to look at the place.
A: And drueled?
E: that kind of handiwork just does notÖcan not exist . Its just too expensive. A piece of art that house is.
K: We have a concert over there at 2 oíclock and then another at seven oíclock. ..
(we talk about show times and that the 3 oíclock show is sold out)
A: I Ďd love to hear another tune and then I have some questions for you.
KĒ Heres another birthday song, its called Old Things (Laughs)
OLD THINGS live.
|A: I read this in Acoustic Guitar, and I want you to elaborate on it
ďpeople will stop if they are being entertainedĒ something you learned
playing on the street?
E: Itís the truth. Keith and I back in the 70s were playing street corners in Santa Cruz California. When you play a street corner, they have to have a reason to stop to throw money in actually. Keith had just left the symphony in Houston Texas to join the rock and roll band that I was playing with and the tour we were on in California went totally bust. We didnítí have any money and the only way to eat was to play on street corners. We tried fishing. We made a pact. We spent our last money on a box of frozen squid. The pact was if we didnít catch a fish we would eat the squid. The day got longer and the squid got pinker and nastier and we didnít eat the squid, fortuanately there was a street music scene in Santa Cruz.
K: Now these days Ezra is a much better fisherman and weíd probably have been just fine now but in those days he couldnít fish worth beans. He was terrible.
|A: Thatís making me think of the sign I saw in James Gordonís e mial.
Heís from Canada, I donít know if you know him.
A: He said I wanna tell you that in Michigan I saw a good addition to my roadside collection TROUT FISHING SURVIVAL TRAINING
E: We should have gone there before California, weíd have done a whole lot better!
A: Youíll have to get your photo taken with that sign. But street playing is hard!
K: IT is but itís an education. People walk by..you knowÖyou look at us. We look funny. You are going to look at us because we look weird.
E: Iím 6 ft 9 inches
K: and Iím 5 feet 51/2 inches on a humid day.
A: And Ill post their photos from today on the website this afternoon. You can see them for yourselves. Go ahead.
K: Thatís all I was going to say.
A: Its radio, so we have to describe height differences. I described
you in Sing Out as the Rockie and Bullwinkle of folk.
K: Boy we loved that. Thank you so much.
A: Well because you are so intellectual and you have the height thing Ė both the brains and the kids appeal thing going onÖ
K: He is Bullwinkle right? Ezra is Bullwinkle, and Ill be Rockie.
A: You decide.
K: He looks like a moose.
A: You played for a woman celebrating her 98th birthday with 5 generations in the audience and you were able to play with every generation digging your music on different levels for different reasons. Thatís how I think about Rockie and BullwinkleÖsomething for everyone.
E: That really is one of my favorite example of great ďall agesĒ entertainment Ė Rockie and Bullwinkle. That woman is still around, she is 104 or 5 now.
A: Awesome, Iíd love to hear another tune. Stay as long as you can though I know you have a sound check in a few hours.
K: This is the title cut off our newest CD
ITíS A PUZZLE Ė Live
Very clever. Love that. Thatís the one up for the grammy?
K: Actually it was the one before that Infinity.
A: What an honor huh?
K: Yeah that was cool.
E: And what a party!
A: (laughing) forget the honorÖthe party!
E: Ive never been to a party like that in my life.
K: Most people wore clothes that cost more than my house.
A: I think aobut that. Gosh.
K: And per yard, they are getting gypped.
A: That makes me ask you, how political do you guys get? Iíve seen you be clever and funny.
E: Havenít heard us be political have you?
A: Not really
E: You wonít
A: Okay I donít know if I missed it or what.
E: We just are not real political
K: I believe solutions come from a more personal basis than political solution. I know people believe in political solutions and that you can get things accomplished that way and I say more power to you, Iím just not one of those people.
A: Well you can entertain all those people who are so strained trying for that.
E: Music is a joy. We play for people you may not think weíd play for, but they enjoy music.
A: How long have you been together
A: It always says 20 plus.
K: It keeps changing, I donít know. We didnítí expect to stay together this long. It was 1976 when we started so just start counting from there.
A: Do your families get together?
E: At thanksgiving we have a huge gathering. But we are gone so much that when we get home we pretty much just stay home.
A: They could be listening on the web
E: They could be but theyíre not, probably palying basketball, watching tv, doing video games, driving cars.
K: My son could be actually. He is on the net quite a bit, never can tell where he is. I donít want to know.
A: I always ask this, and you donít have to do it, but I was hoping youíd play a piece of something not complete yet. Something not quite done, a line, a beginning of a songÖ a bass line.. a bit of a chorusÖif you are willing to share.
K: Its so weird that you asked us. We have an entire cd we are working on. We have all these songsÖIs that one youíd like to try?
E: Yeah. Just know that we donít have our parts yet, we are still writing it. So this
KĒ Thatís what you asked for right
A: Exactly what I asked for.
K: We are working on a holiday cd. We started it back in February but hereís one.
They start Toys for Christmas (ďSee we donít know what key its in yet)
E: Something like that.
A: Thatís the most complete piece thatís ever been played.
K: We got so many we are working on too, its just so fun.
A: They are just flying out?
K: Actually Iím on a spurt. I start with words I send them over to Ezra and he responcs with chords and then we put them together , yeah Iím spurting right now. Them lyrics are just popping out. My conversation might be pretty bad, but those lyrics are ok.
A: You must do a lot of radio shows. Are you always asked if you write the lyrics before the music?
K: They ask how we get the ideas and stuff like that.
A: What are all the common questions?
E: How díyall get that name?
A: Iím not asking that.
K: Thank you
E: Weíre not answering it either.
KĒ I like Richard Brautigan Ezra likes to fish, if you want to talk about Brautifan, talk to me, fishing or tying flies, talk to Ezra. I canít fish.
A: Can we hear something else?
K: Lets play lightening. I like this a lot but we will need a capo.
How new is that one? Thatís from an older cd called Reel life. It sort
of sat there for a bunch of years and didnít go anywhere. Weíve started
to do it again recently and thatís why it feels like a new tune as if we
just wrote it last week. We started doing it again in December. That song
had been dormant for about 3 or 4 years doing nothing.
E: When youíve been playing together this long, that happens. They rise, they fall, they come back again. Its fun.
A: Are you willing to share one of the mistakes youíve made again?(referring to a line in the last song)
K: Uh, (thinking) no.
A: Because in doing so you might be.
K: Exactly, I could be making a big mistake. They are just so often. A lot of times when you find yourself getting safe, you have to remind yourself that safety is a trap you wont get anywhere unless you make a mistake. Juggling. We both juggle. There is a saying in juggling, that a drop is a sign of progress. If you are not dropping enough, then you are not really trying. Mistakes are progress and thatís kinda what that song is saying.
A: Thatís a great approach, I juggle but I drop all the time so I stop.
K: Youríre progressing.
A: I stop cuz I think I canít do it. But youíre right. What a great way to look at something. Im in education thatís my real job. I always wonder why we grade people. Imagine being grading as you are learning anything. You are not supposed to be an expert yet.
E: I am so with you. Keith was a straight A student in school. I was the bottom 26th of our class, really really down there. But we both have the same job now
K : Id like point out that shos a flaw in the educational system right there cuz this guy is really smart, probably smarter than I am. I just happen to know how to take a test. When I read the book, I know what you are going to ask me. Thatís what I learned. Iímnot saying I learned all the right lessons but I know what will be asked. There are loopholes in the system. Ezra is definitely the loophole Ė a smart man.
A: Or he got through the loophole
K: I guess so.
A: This is just so neat that you guys came. You are known all over the country and in Canada and you came to play live in our little WJFF studios.
E: I donít know if listeners have been here, but looking out this window is a georgeous stone tower a wooden building next to a waterfall and thatís what powers this radio station, that is so fine.
K: Ezra has the window, I have the wall. Donít give him the window, heíll stare out there and forget how to play.
A: I donít know if youíll have time to take a loop around that?
E: We pretty much have to go. Hope that the deer stay and the snow doesnít come.
K: Want to play a nice song?
E: Which one?
K: Off our new cd? King of my mountain.
King of my mountain. Live.
A: Your right that was a nice song. There isnít just one nice song though
is there, cuz you knew it right away?
E: That album is pretty much family music with music for everyone in the family, not just playful kids stuff, although we do have that as well but when we were growing up our kid music was AM radio: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Wayne Newton, Jimmy Hendrix, Dean Martin
K: All there together at the same time.
E: Music was music, it didnít have to be blues, or pop, or chicano Ė it was all there. For us its natural to play all that kind of music.
K: We also come originally from Houston Texas, live in Arkansas now. Houston was a real melting pot. We had Cajun music next door, tahona music south of the border country and blues scene, psycodelic, great folk scene too. All kinds of music.
A: Do you feel slighted when you are called a folk group.
K: I like it. You know, I donít feel that we are folk music per sya but at the same time that we have been embrassed by the folk community, we love that.
E: What is folk music, music made by folks, and we are that. And we travel and we are pretty blue colar about it, we are not pop stars. We are folk musicians, we write songs.
K: They have never called us pop stars, I donít know why.
A: Ketiher, I read that you need more silence in your life and Im wondering if with this life you have do you get it, and if so how.
K: I make it. I make my silence.
A: YOU plan it.
K: I plan it, I get up really early, and get lots of quiet time, I write a lot Im a journalist, I walk around the world and I look at things. I feel we are bombarded. People need almost a soundtrack for their lives. People get lonely if they donít have it. Myself? I need to shut that out so I can listen to whats inside. Sounds weird but its just how I am. Ezra on the other hand, loves to have something going on.
E: Iím the total opposite. In our van we have headphones so that the driver can listen without disturbing Keiths reverie. I like music contstantly, all different kinds and in large quantities.
K: We live in the cournty. I love going to the city. I go more often than he does. But when Im home I like to go out into the woods, I have 10 acres on the top of a mountain as a matter of fact, which is where those lyrics came from.
A: That juices your batteries.
KĒ Exactly. Can I mention our webiste.
K: Troutmusic.com Icouldnt figure out how to weave it into the conversation.
A: I noticed that. Check on the webiste www.wjffradio.org/folkplus to check on links to any musicians that I play this show.
K: One of the things you brought up was to program some music weíd like for the rest of the show. Sort of be DJS. We are music fans. This is not exactly what you wanted, but we had a chance to play with these guys, a group we had a chance to play with, a group we admire : Little Feet. We want to do one of their tunes.
E: Thatís is folk music. Those are folks and they really play great.
A: You gotta race out.
K: Id love to stay but
A: Well take a soundings program guide, t shirt and bumper sticker. The guys will help you. Thanks so much for coming.
E: When we come back hopefully we will have a chance to stay longer.
K: Ezra wants to be a DJ when he grows up. He really does.