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Trampled by Turtles (from Alpenglow available on BanjoDad Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Lee Zimmerman)
If one were to reference their name alone, Trampled by Turtles would remain something of an enigma. Fortunately, instead, they can hang their hats on a well-deserved reputation as provocateurs of today’s bolder Bluegrass initiatives. Like The Punch Brothers, Yonder Mountain Stringband, The Infamous Stringbusters, the Sam Bush Band, Town Mountain, and Steep Canyon Rangers, TBT have redefined the notion of what mountain music is all about, while making their own indelible imprint in the process.
That said, Alpenglow finds the band in a more reflective state of mind, an attitude that takes its cue from the far stretches of America’s western environs, where the sun casts a reddish glow on the mountains at dawn and at dusk, and bathes their surroundings in a seemingly dream-like hue. The music that’s resulted reflects that otherworldly imagery, as expressed in a series of low-lit musings, all immersed in sentiment and circumspect.
Nine albums on, Alpenglow represents the band’s first new effort since 2018’s equally expressive opus, Life Is Good on the Open Road. Optimism and pessimism play equal roles in these proceedings, often at opposite ends of the cerebral spectrum. Jeff Tweedy’s role as producer may have something to do with that dichotomy, but more likely than not it’s simply a matter of synching mood and melody. The subdued sensibilities of “It’s So Hard to Hold On” as well as the desire and determination shared in “Starting Over”, the absolute darkness and despair of “Central Hillside Blues”, the forlorn farewell indicated by “The Party’s Over”, and the downcast disposition that pervades “All the Good Times Are Gone” makes it clear that hope has become hard to come by.
On the other hand, certain songs indicate that there may be some hope lingering on the horizon after all. “We’re Alright,” “On the Highway”, “A Lifetime to Find”, “Nothing but Blue Skies” are Trampled by Turtles suggestions that even in the darkest days, the clouds eventually lift and allow the light to come shining through. In that regard, Alpenglow provides a comforting caress, especially given the fact that it’s really needed now. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Trampled by Turtles from AMAZON
Please go to the Trampled by Turtles website for more purchase and artist information
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