Formed in Duluth, MN in 2003, Trampled by Turtles is Simonett, Tim Saxhaug (bass, vocals), Dave Carroll (banjo, vocals), Erik Berry and Ryan Young (fiddle). Within the contained music scene of Duluth, the members of the band did their own time in punk and rock bands brandishing their electricity proudly before switching to acoustic instruments. While they never set out to be a bluegrass band, Trampled by Turtles employs many of the same traditional techniques of the genre, but their differences in influences and attack make for their unique sound.
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Trampled By Turtles are a long-running Duluth, Minnesota band who blend influences from bluegrass and country-blues to a more Gene Clark/Laurel Canyon singer songwriter vibe. All of this comes together nicely on the opening title track. It has the pluckings and pickings of an Americanised Pogues but match this with grand sweeping doleful music. The busy arrangements are kept in check and the instruments sit just under the mix, never overplaying and using drones and interesting counter melodies to keep the listeners ear happy.
I’m not sure how they are going to top that, though. Their bluegrass based sound maybe a bit kooky to some but its played for melancholy rather than getting people up dancing and the melodies have the keening, longing sound of the likes of My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes. The nearest comparison I guess is Gene Clark’s excellent collaborations with Doug Gillard, the birth of alt country I suppose. Producer Alan Sparhawk (Low) gives the album a warm, lush sound and on the B side once they’ve got the outrageously raucous bar-room tangle of ‘Come Back Home’ out their system there are some downbeat last- whisky-of-the-night weepers which reinforces that Yank-Pogues comparison.
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