Trampled By Turtles • Them Coulee Boys
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Trampled By Turtles
“There is something generous about the way they play. They make room for each other, they serve the song, yet at times seem to ride the chaotic edge of stringed oblivion. It is the sound of joy; the kind of joy that the truth gives you, even when it's a hard thing to hear.” - Alan Sparhawk, Producer
"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive." - Jack London
Dave Simonett (guitar/lead vocals)
Tim Saxhaug (bass/harmony vocals)
Dave Carroll (banjo, harmony vocals)
Erik Berry (mandolin)
Ryan Young (fiddle/harmony vocals)
On Wild Animals, Trampled by Turtles’ seventh studio album, themes of impermanence run deep, both lyrically and sonically. The quintet’s hybrid folk sound continues its evolution pushing the band further into the grey area between genres that defies pigeonholing.
Trampled By Turtles formed in 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota. From their beginnings on the Midwestern festival circuit, they have reached new heights with each album. The release of 2012’s Stars And Satellites saw the band play to more fans than ever, sell close to 100,000 albums, make their first national television appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, and have their first concert feature, Live at First Avenue, broadcast on Palladia. This year will see the band headline Red Rocks Ampitheatre for the first time and the kickoff of their own festival, Festival Palomino, which will take place September 20, 2014 outside Minneapolis.
Lead songwriter Dave Simonett has been especially affected by change over the last few years. He relocated from Duluth to the city of Minneapolis. “When I lived in Duluth, I think I took connection with uncivilized nature for granted. There, I had to drive 20 minutes and I was in the middle of nowhere, and I did this almost daily,” says Simonett. “This was a very important ritual for me. Solitary time in a nearly untouched landscape is my version of church, so I think there is a bit of loss of religion in a lot of my work these days. I've always been a little obsessed with our struggle to stay connected to our simple animal side, the part of our nature that lived off the earth, hunted live game, worshipped trees and mountains. I believe a lot of sadness is caused by feeling disconnected with the rest of nature. A lot of what is instinctual for us is beaten down and frowned upon in modern society. It has to be confusing for the subconscious.”
Wild Animals found Trampled by Turtles working with a producer for the first time in four studio records. The band placed themselves in the capable hands of longtime Duluth, MN compatriot Alan Sparhawk of the band Low and engineer B.J. Burton (Poliça, Megafaun, Volcano Choir) who crafted a sonic landscape that was spatial and new at Cannon Falls, MN’s Pachyderm Studio (Nirvana, The Jayhawks).
Says Simonett on working with Sparhawk: “Alan is one of the most musically courageous people I know and that’s exactly the attitude we were looking for. He’s great at taking a song from its false conclusion all the way down to its very core and then building it back in new and interesting ways.”
And on Burton’s contributions: “He has an exciting way of looking at sound. He shares Alan’s courage in music in that he’s ready to take organic sounds and push them to new places. He’s extremely technically skilled but not tied to any recording dogma.”
The band’s signature harmonies are intact, although the contributions that Sparhawk and Burton added created a new depth. Tim Saxhaug, the band member who has traditionally done much of the vocal arrangement says, “The production team pushed the band to consider new ways of approaching harmony, and the result 'opened our ears.' I wasn’t sure that recording could feel new after six studio albums, but that went away on the first day. Making this album was the most creative I’ve ever felt in my life.”
When asked about themes in his writing, Simonett says, “I’ve always felt they’re just various ways humans have attempted to explain the unexplainable. To keep the fear of the darkness that waits for all of us at bay. The death of a loved one, the parting of friends, the changing leaves, the loss of love. All the little parts that come and go. In a way it’s refreshing because the knowledge that nothing will ever stay the same offers innumerable opportunities for rebirth. “
Sparhawk adds about the band’s relationship, “The sound that caught my ear was there from the beginning and stands to this day: I call it the 'wall of strings.' Taking instruments we have heard for generations, the Turtles dive in with post-punk energy and selflessness. Everyone has a part in the arrangement that leans on and enhances the others, always serving the song. The message is not about individuals - it's about what can be done when people get together, apply their heart and soul, and make a little room for each other. Music has always had that potential, but it's rare when it actually happens.”
Erik Berry says of the band's chemistry, "From the earliest times we started playing, there has always been a real hard-to-define quality about our chemistry, something special. It’s been a treat to find that more than ten years in we still can turn new corners, at least new-to-us corners, together in the way we approach a song or a sound and still with that quality. That something that makes us, us."
Wild Animals is the sound of a band at the peak of their potential, strengthened from a decade together, winning some and losing some, but growing none-the-less. The album captures the intense nature that goes with being alive, melding the universal and the personal.
Them Coulee Boys
[Them Coulee Boys] are sure to kick down an equal dose of punk-folk calamity and Americana balladry, 4-part harmonies learned in dive bars and church basements, and a banjo stomp so infective you are sure to join with abandon.
— Mid West Music Fest
Allegedly founded at a bible camp, and born in the back valleys of Western Wisconsin, Them Coulee Boys craft a brand of Americana that blends punk, bluegrass, and rock & roll. Somewhere underneath the energy, the exuberance, the wit, and the passion of Them Coulee Boys lies a heart. It's a heart filled with sincerity, honesty, and the will to make the world a better place. This heart is not only evident in every song, but also in Them Coulee Boys as a whole. These songs are meant for dancing, for excitement, but are also for thought, and for the quiet moments. Them Coulee Boys seek to balance the high with the low, the happy with the sad, and the love with pain. It's how we live our lives, and they make music that reflects that.
Founded in late 2013, Them Coulee Boys have quickly become a force on the Midwest music scene. Soren Staff, Beau Janke, Jens Staff, Neil Krause, and Patrick Phalen IV work together as a well-oiled alt-folk machine to craft songs and live shows that have impressed audiences nationwide.
In the winter of 2018, Them Coulee Boys set to capture a new sound. They gathered at the famed Pachyderm Studios (Nirvana, Son Volt, PJ Harvey) in Cannon Falls, MN to record with their friend Dave Simonett (Trampled By Turtles). Their as of yet untitled record builds on their ever evolving sound, while capturing the live element Them Coulee Boys are known for. The album is framed as a journey of sorts, starting in a volatile place, and ending in acceptance. This is the sound of a band that has grown into the sound they’ve been working towards, while keeping the sincerity they built themselves on. Look for their new record in 2019.
Them Coulee Boys have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some incredible acts including: John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival), Trampled By Turtles, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band, Pert Near Sandstone, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Fruition, and many more.
House of Blues - Cleveland
308 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH, 44114