Trampled By Turtles


It was once safe to say that the only thing Minnesota was good for was breeding U.S. hockey players every so often.  This – I guess we’ll call it an assumption – is now false.  Minnesota – specifically Duluth, MN – can now claim Trampled By Turtles, a small folk/bluegrass band that has been on the rise since they released their first album, Songs from a Ghost Town, in 2004.  Today, their fifth album, Palomino, has been in the top 10 of Billboard bluegrass charts for 52 straight weeks, which, in anyone’s eyes, is very impressive to say the least. Trampled by Turtles or TBT is composed of Dave Simonett (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Tim Saxhaug (bass, backing vocals), Dave Carroll (banjo, backing vocals), Erik Berry (mandolin), and Ryan Young (fiddle, backing vocals).   The mixture of the members’ vocal ranges with the instruments really gives the band a unique sound that can’t be categorized with other music.  In every song, there’s just a twang to it that, I think, has revolutionized bluegrass music due to their background in rock music.  The solos that are heard throughout their pieces give them a different sound as well.

For me, it’s not just the awards and music that attract my attention to this band. When the band came together, they all agreed to a challenge that Dave Simonett states as: “to try and make our own music with an instrumental lineup we were all unfamiliar with,” since at the time, they all played in rock bands.  This statement of his really shows me, and hopefully you readers out there, that they wanted to force themselves out of their musical comfort zone, which we should all try to do at some point.  My last statement is that these guys, super talented, who absolutely love to perform – they’re not doing it for the money, but rather because they wholeheartedly enjoy playing and challenging themselves while they do it.  That is why I have such a profound respect for Trampled By Turtles.

TBT has played at huge venues recently including Coachella, Stagecoach, Bumbershoot, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival.  In 2012, they performed at Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Firefly just to name a few others.  Either way, all of these festivals are massive, just giving TBT more paths towards a bigger fan base.