Tramplin’ the Twin Cities

A few of the folks from Trampled by Turtles talk their First Ave blowout, life on the road and how they’ve stayed together.

Joe Kellen

What: Trampled by Turtles, featuring Actual Wolf, Fever Dream, The Pines, Charlie Parr, Corpse Reviver, Prissy Clerks and more

When: 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday

Where: First Avenue and 7th St. Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $25, Both shows sold out

Age: 18+


Even after a decade of playing countless shows with Trampled by Turtles, Ryan Young knows how he’ll be feeling before the band takes the stage Thursday.

“I’m going to be trying not to throw up,” the fiddle player said.

Duluth’s bluegrass peddlers are making a lengthy stop in the Twin Cities for their Minnesota Tour — they’ve sold out three consecutive shows, Wednesday through Friday, in both First Avenue’s Mainroom and 7th St. Entry. Perhaps it’s safe to say these pre-performance jitters never throw off the rhythm of the Turtles’ raw, foot-stomping energy.

It’s a busy year for the band. Its upcoming international tour and growing fan base clear up any doubt that the sometimes banjo-thrashing, drawling and atmospheric five-piece has some staying power.

With the release of its newest album, “Stars and Satellites,” the band has played with a dreamier sound. It hasn’t hung up the blistering hoedown throw-down tunes, but it has begun to explore the more introspective side of what its music can be.

The group even shared living quarters during the recording of the album.

“We were able to set up a studio in a cabin up north of Duluth. We’d stay there and make meals there. That way we didn’t have to break the momentum we’d built up recording,” banjo player Dave Carroll said.

Momentum is a pretty accurate assessment of what the quintet is experiencing lately and Young hopes to let the velocity build while staying close to the roots of what the band always wanted to be.

“We don’t try to do anything other than what we naturally would do,” he said. “I like how Trampled by Turtles has no rules, basically — we just make whatever we feel is the right thing. I want us to keep doing that.”

However, Trampled by Turtles wants to give audiences more than just its ever-changing style through the three-show stint.

It’ll be joined by a legion of artists including rootsy blues veteran Charlie Parr, twanged-out bluegrass trio Corpse Reviver, breathy garage rockers Prissy Clerks and a host of others.

“They’re people we’ve played shows with before and also people that maybe others haven’t heard of or haven’t seen,” Young said. “We wanted to have a little bit of everything.”

Maybe it’s the variety that has scored the band three nights of packed houses. The ticket sales came as a surprise to Young.

“I didn’t know we’d be able to pull it off, honestly — in my mind I was like, ‘Uh oh, I hope we’re not biting off more than we can chew,’” he said.

Taking on too much to handle isn’t necessarily uncharacteristic for the band. Known for its relentless touring schedule, Trampled by Turtles usually works in constant motion.

“Since 2006, or maybe even before that, it’s been almost nonstop. We go on tour, come back home for a bit and then go back out again in another direction,” Young said.

Young insists that the band’s amiable dynamic is what keeps it going when life becomes a grueling series of cities.

“I’ve been in bands where the guitar player kind of hates the bass player a little bit and the bass player hates the singer a little bit and there’s a lot of stuff going on under the surface,” he said. “None of that really happens in Trampled by Turtles — everybody’s friendly and knows when to give space.”

All in all, it’s a welcoming change of pace to have an extended stay in the band’s home state.

“There’ll be a lot of love and support and excitement,” Young said.