Trampled by Turtles is an acoustic quintet from Duluth, MN. Based on their instrumentation, the initial instinct is to view the band as a bluegrass or new-grass outfit, but spend more than a cursory moment with their music and it is clear this tag doesn’t really fit. Call it alt-bluegrass, nontraditional string, indie-folk, rock-grass, punk-grass or anything else, they don’t care what name you put on it, just show up with an open mind and it won’t be long until you fall under their spell.
SF Bay Guardian had this to say about the Trampled By Turtles’ unique take on acoustic roots music: “Shooting sparks in the face of folk traditionalism, the quintet approaches the banjo and mandolin with a level of brash recklessness hardly heard since the now-mythical reign of Uncle Tupelo. Bill Monroe and Joe Strummer would both be proud.
The band came together in 2003 when several local bands fell apart around the same time. Vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Dave Simonett began playing with mandolin player Erik Berry as an acoustic duo at which point they met banjoist Dave Carroll. Soon they picked up bass player Tim Saxhaug and “just kind of started jamming in living rooms and playing for fun” explains Simonett. “It was kind of like a side project, and then eventually everybody else’s band split up so we started doing this one full-time.
Beyond their raucous, genre-bending live shows, Trampled By Turtles are dedicated to songcraft and have released five albums. Their newest album Duluth, self-released in 2008, shot up to number eight on the Billboard Bluegrass Heatseakers Chart. Combining the raw intensity of their live performances with their growing facility in the studio and Simonett’s inspired songwriting (think strains of Townes Van Zandt, Dylan, Wilco and you’re on the right path), Duluth is a high watermark for the band and has proven capable of bridging gaps between fanbases.
Tramped by Turtles have continuously wowed over the 5-years they have been strumming, plucking and vocally empowering, and have dazzled the country with bluegrass rhythms, punk attitudes, country tuned souls and pure hearts of musical sentiment.
The show is on Thursday 10/15 at 10PM at the Iron Horse. Amhert's Fine & Dandy Trio (also in a Wednesday residency at the Basement, open the show.