The quintet from Duluth, Minn.
The quintet from Duluth, Minn. But Trampled by Turtles had succeeded quite well in that singular quest, since their formation in Their debut album "Songs from a Ghost Town" in got them noticed nationally right away, and their shows won over devoted fans coast to coast. The band's fifth album, 's "Palomino" spent 52 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Bluegrass chart, they performed on "The Late Show with David Letterman," their music was used on the soundtrack to TV's "The Deadliest Catch", and more recently one of their songs is on the video game "Far Cry 5.
Trampled By Turtles' album "Wild Animals" was often cited as their best yet, as primary songwriter Dave Simonett examined the impermanence of life in general, and dealt obliquely with the way his life had gotten away from the simplicity of the outdoors he loved. His lyrics tend to be poetic and filled with imagery that tells an emotional story, but not in linear form. Elsewhere on that record, the title cut "Wild Animals" seemed a wistful elegy for a simpler life, and "Come Back Home" achieved the difficult task of utilizing precise imagery to serve a general theme, crafting a classic lost-love ballad into a rapid-tempo, banjo-fired romp that could also be seen as just a brave attempt to carry on when life is changing too fast for comfort.
But a funny thing happened after all those accolades for the previous album. Trampled By Turtles went home and went on a nice long hiatus. They didn't even stay in touch with each other that much. Now the new album's songs are more exhilarating and joyful than usual, as if the band and Simonett are enthused about getting back on the road.
A song like "Kelly's Bar" is a positively rollicking ode to the cast of characters in a local tavern, a vignette most people will be able to appreciate. When we got back together in the studio to talk about a new record, it felt great to get back at it.
Part of it was time out at home, which was reserved for my kids. But I definitely needed some space - I think we all did - and it became a great experience. That change of perspective was necessary, and then it got to the point of missing the band, missing the guys, and we all sort of knew we were ready to go back to work. As 'Wild Animals" was colored with introspection and wistful regret, "Life is Good on the Open Road" bears a more outgoing theme?
It felt that way in my writing, too" said Simonett. But I would say that these new songs do reflect my state of mind, which is more settled and extroverted. I wish I knew where some of these things come from, when I'm writing, but it is kind of an unusual process. When you add in their stellar vocal harmonies, behind Simonett's lead vocals, it seems like there must be incredibly complex arrangements involved.
We had some songs done, which we'd played out already, so we didn't have to practice them in the studio. But generally, we wanted to go for playing them just a couple times in the studio.
That first or second take so often has magical things happening, so that's what we aimed for, instead of spending a lot of time agonizing over it. Unless it felt wrong, we did most of this album that way. We just sat in a circle in the studio, and did this one really live. It felt much more like a natural process, and not something we spent a lot of time dissecting. It is primarily a sound that is all about teamwork and supporting each other.
It is hard to describe what it is to play music with somebody when you have that connection, when you know what they're going to do before they do it. It's a vibe, a great feeling of being in the moment together.
Playing with other people, in some of my other projects was also good, but it was somewhat like learning a new language, and we did have to vocalize what we wanted to do a lot more.
We're still learning as we go. We are not fancy musicians by any measure, and we all learned from playing with each other. It turns out to be inspired by one of Simonett's favorite books. Even if this is the band's eighth studio album, and they have a lengthy songbook, they are eager to introduce the new tunes too.
That might no be everybody's favorite thing to hear right away, but even if we did ten of the 12 songs, that's still less than half of our show, so people will hear plenty of our older stuff too. We haven't played Boston for a while, so we're excited to get back there with this new music. Digital access or digital and print delivery.
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