I think we can all agree that if we happened to be a victim of robbery in which the items we used to express the most vulnerable and real parts of ourselves (and make a living) were stolen, the appropriate actions would be to file a police report and then wallow forever. But Dave Simonett did not wallow forever after his car was ransacked and most of his music gear was stolen while playing a show with his band at the time. Instead, armed with a single acoustic guitar, he pieced together a new band lodged solidly within genres that didn’t require amplification — folk and bluegrass.
Legend has it that this is how Trampled by Turtles was born, out of the ashes of thievery and loss and into the vortex of a new genre it would take years to win the fans of. Luckily, everything worked out and I am able to write about them now.
What is particularly cool about Trampled by Turtles is the fact that none of the five musicians in the band had ever played bluegrass music before uniting with Simonett. Fiddle player Ryan Young had previously been playing drums in a speed metal band and bassist Tim Saxhaug had played in a jam band. A mandolin and banjo round out the sound and the product has been an evolving experiment until they finally found their sound with their fourth album, “Duluth,” named for the Minnesota town the band formed in.
I generally like to think that I know what I’ll like when it comes to music. I know what genres I tend to gravitate towards at least. While folk music has always been very high on my list of personal favorite music, the idea of bluegrass turned me off, and classic bluegrass still does. For some reason or another, my brain has always had a certain aversion to bluegrass. Color me surprised when I listened to Trampled by Turtles, immediately recognized the strong bluegrass sound, and decided I liked it. I pretty much started thinking about everything in life with the mindset that at 28 years old, I have absolutely no idea what I really like and dislike.
I adore the fact that Trampled by Turtles won me over and that their music made me reevaluate what I had thought were my tastes. I am now a more open-minded person when it comes to the artistry of music and not paying attention to what genre it happens to be housed in, but appreciating a sound simply for what it is.