Trampled By Turtles were hands down my biggest surprise of SxSW 2010. I had already listened to their debut latest album, Palomino, but nothing prepared me for the storm of bluegrass energy that blew my hair back a the Lucero Family Picnic Party at Red Eyed Fly in Austin. They opened, but stole the show away from followers like Deer Tick and Justin Townes Earle.
The Minnesota band plays a unique brand of raucous bluegrass that will win over audiences of all shapes an sizes. In person, Trampled By Turtles sound and stage presence is impossible not to love. On Palomino, it’s exhausting to make your way through if you’re unprepared for the furious pace of the mandolin, banjo and fiddle. I listened to the opening track, “Wait So Long” and started sweating a little bit out of my right armpit (For some reason that’s where my sweating starts and my left armpit never quite catches up).
Luckily, TxT balances ferocious tracks like “Wait So Long,” “It’s a War,” and “Feet and Bones” with lighter fare like “New Orleans,” “Separate,” and “Bloodshot Eyes.” This balance of energy is a bit like riding a roller coaster. You’ll take twists, bends, and dips at break neck speeds before clicking your way slowly up an ascent that drops you back down into the bluegrass abyss. It’s one hell of a ride.
They are touring in May and June, so check out their site for dates. We damn near had a session with them last time through Chicago, but their schedule was too tight to make it happen. Judging by the video below, it would have been something amazing. Maybe next time…
Video: Trampled By Turtles – Wait So Long