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Album Review

Minnesota quintet Trampled by Turtles are usually referred to as a progressive bluegrass band to distinguish them from a traditional one. But on the basis of their fourth studio album, named after their hometown of Duluth, they might better be called a punk bluegrass band. Especially early on, TBT, playing with breakneck speed, suggest a punk-like energy that supports singer/guitarist Dave Simonett's adenoidal vocals, which boast the timbre of Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano and the phrasing of Townes Van Zandt. Simonett justifies such comparisons by his lyrical persona, whether he's confessing to a drunken blackout or name-dropping John Steinbeck. But there are also several instrumentals on the disc, and they provide plenty of room for the musicians, especially mandolin player Erik Berry, to shine. Trampled by Turtles are progressive in the sense that they are bringing new influences into bluegrass, but they are also an accomplished outfit and never lose the rough-and-ready feel that the music should have.


Formed: 2003 in Duluth, MN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Progressive bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles are from Duluth, Minnesota, where frontman Dave Simonett initially formed the group as a side project in 2003. At the time, Simonett had lost most of his music gear, thanks to a group of enterprising car thieves who'd ransacked his vehicle while he played a show with his previous band. Left with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, he began piecing together a new band, this time taking inspiration from bluegrass, folk, and other genres that didn't rely...
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Duluth, Trampled By Turtles
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