Trampled By Turtles

Photo by David McClister

Trampled By Turtles strike such a nerve with me cause they’re able to balance an album with songs that drive forward with a manner that borders on unhinged with songs that wear their hearts on the sleeve. After a four year hiatus since Wild Animals, the Minneapolis sextet have reached some new heights with Life is Good on the Open Road.

after a year apart, the genesis for Life is Good on the Open Road was some time together at (Banjo) Dave Carroll’s cabin in the woods. As they settled in, American experienced their worst mass shooting and lost of its musical icons in Tom Petty. This was a lot for us all to take in, but trying to reconnect with “family” to see if a big portion of your life was worth continuing must have been somewhat daunting. But sometimes trying circumstances can bring out the best in your family.

And that’s what happened here. The time away had led the band to conclude that needed as Dave Simonett and Erik Berry put it, to “return to form.” I’m willing to step out on a limb and say that Life is Good on the Open Road will wind up as my favorite TBT album.

The return to form was clearly evident by their lead single and opening track, Kelly’s Bar, a tune inspired by a pub that Simonett hung at during his time living in Red Wing, MN. The last track, I Learned The Hard Way, is in the vein of Again. It is a love track that will tug on your heart strings.

In between there is so much goodness. Thank You, John Steinback is a lovely mid-tempo number about where the protagonist reminisces about his the hometown while on the road. Annihilate see the boys stepping on the gas and Blood in the Water is full on punk. I Went to Hollywood is another winner, feels like it can be a good audience participation number.

While some bands are veering away from drew their fans in, TBT doubled down on what got them here and produced something magical.

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Photo by David McClister

When Trampled announced their hiatus back in the fall of 2016, I had hopes that it would be short-lived. I’d had the pleasure of meeting the guys a few times including a session way back in 2011. They had a feeling of family about them, like there was a bond bigger than music and the band. Here’s some info the new album coming out on 5/4 via the fine folks at Thirty Tigers.

Life is Good on the Open Road is the sound of freedom washing over the group like a sunrise, a new day rising. When discussing the album, both Simonett and Berry toyed with the phrase “return to form,” suggesting that it captures something pure and essential about the Trampled by Turtles sound.

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Dave Simonett, aka Dead Man Winter, is better known as the front man of Trampled By Turtles. Furnace finds Simonett after the ending of his marriage and a hiatus from TBT. He’s releasing his s

Furnace marks a whole lot of firsts for the accomplished songwriter. It’s his first time putting his long-running, popular string band, Trampled by Turtles, on hiatus to focus all of his efforts on a more personal project. It’s his first time speaking so plainly and literally about something happening in his private life. And it’s his first time dedicating an entire record to a single topic — a topic so significant and intimate that he questioned whether or not he should even release it into the world.

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For the first time, Trampled By Turtles, stepped outside their comfort zone and spent more than a couple of days recording an album. They brought in Alan Sparhawk of Low to handle the knobs and hit the record button. And while I am not a Low fanatic like some, their ability to meticulously craft beauty rubs off on their fellow Duluth band.

Trampled By Turtles hooked me with their frenetic jams; feeling as if they were lifting you to another realm. With Stars and Satellites and even more with Wild Animals, the quintet continues to refine their craftsmanship. Wild Animals is their slowest album to date, haunting in parts; but still leaves you feeling emotionally drained by its end. Lead singer Dave Simonett’s voice effortlessly blends with the strings throughout as opposed to fighting for its own space. That’s not to say that when the boys release the hand-brake with Come Back Home, it isn’t everything you love about this band. It is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

But while I hope the boys move back towards their up-tempo fare in the future albums, this was the album they needed to make now. And hell, it might even be their best but that’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid. It’s Hank this week, by the way. Simonett had this to say, We all tried to come into this thing extremely open-minded. How can we sound new to ourselves? I feel like the sound has changed and is changing, especially from Palomino to now. A lot of our reputation from even just a couple years ago was that we were this fast band, which we can do, and we do that. But this record focused a little bit more on other aspects of our playing together.”

Wild Animals opens up like Stars and Satellites, like an animal just peering out of its cage. While Midnight On The Interstate was achingly beautiful in its sparse nature (I just listened to it as I wrote this and still got goosebumps); the title track is a haunting number where Ryan Young’s fiddle creeps up and down your spine.

Are You Behind The Shining Star? has many of the same qualities that made Alone such a striking track. Nobody Knows has a back-porch sing-along feel to it. You can see that kicking towards the end of a set with some crowd participation. And the album closes with a tender track called Winners, reminding you of Palomino’s ending track – Again.

But as much as myself or anybody else writes about this album, the only way to judge TBT is by their live show. It has blossomed into a fervent, communal affair with fans singing every word.

Our full session is here

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Trampled by Turtles – New Album on July 15

April 11, 2014

Photo by Zoran Orlic We have a whole shitload of news on HearYa favorite, Trampled By Turtles. Their last album, Stars and Satellites, was our favorite album of 2012. First off, new album. They’re calling it Wild Animals and it will be out on July 15th. Below is the lead track, Are You Behind The […]

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The Devil Makes Three announce I’m A Stranger Here; first track Stranger

September 3, 2013

Sorry, we’ve been a little out of the loop this last week or so. School started back up and we’re all trying to find our rhythm again. So we’re going to ease back into things with some of our favorites. First up is HearYa session alumni, The Devil Makes Three. Since releasing Do Wrong Right […]

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Trampled By Turtles – Midnight on the Interstate [music video]

May 24, 2013

Speaking of artists we love, Trampled By Turtles has a cool new video for the first track off HearYa’s #1 album of 2012 – Satellites and Stars. This moving multimedia video was conceived and created by students at the Bethany Lutheran College Media Arts department in Mankato, MN. Tweet

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Trampled By Turtles go back to High School

February 5, 2013

We were supposed to have Trampled By Turtles in for another HearYa session a couple of weeks ago. The car gods conspired against us and they weren’t able to attend. Luckily for these kids in Lawrence, KS; that wasn’t an issue on that particular day. I don’t know if these kids know how lucky they […]

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Trampled By Turtles release video for Alone, new album out today

April 10, 2012

CMT premiered the video for Trampled By Turtles’ beautifully crafted track “Alone” off their album Stars and Satellites, released today. Can’t say enough good things about this record. Get More: Alone, Trampled by Turtles, Trampled by Turtles Videos Tweet

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Trampled By Turtles – Stars and Satellites [Album Review]

March 30, 2012

Dave Simonett – vox/guitar, Ryan Young – fiddle, Erik Bery – mandolin, Tim Saxhaug – bass, Dave Carroll – banjo. Looks like I just listed names of band members, but ever since I first saw the band live, all I see when looking at each name is Trampled By Turtles. A band where five band […]

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