Best tunes of 2012: #20 Trampled By Turtles “Alone”

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Memory is funny thing. And as I get older, it’s only getting funnier. Yeah. These days, it’s damn right hilarious.

I have no idea at all how I ever came across Trampled by Turtles and their very excellent 2012 album, “Stars and satellites”. I’ve thought, at points, that they were one of those many bands that I’ve investigated over the years in anticipation of seeing them live at either Ottawa’s Bluesfest or the CityFolk festival. But that can’t be it because although they have played both of those festivals, each of these appearances occurred prior to and well after this album’s release and unfortunately, I missed both.

Then, I wondered if it was because I had gotten caught up the indie folk wave that had taken hold of pretty much everyone around this time, thanks, of course, goes out here to the success of England’s Mumford and Sons and the United States’ answer, The Lumineers. A very possible theory, this.

But the theory that I feel is most likely, is a simple one: They have one hell of a band name, don’t they?

Trampled by Turtles formed in Duluth, Minnesota back in 2003. As far as I can tell, all six members – Dave Simonett. Tim Saxhaug, Dave Carroll, Erik Berry, Ryan Young, and Eamonn McLain – have been with the band since its inception and through the release of all nine of their albums. Since the beginning, they have maintained a hold on their bluegrass and folk underpinnings and man, are they talented.

One of the biggest standouts of their aforementioned fifth album, “Stars and satellites”, is this very track we are focusing on today: “Alone”. It is fresh and at the same time, old school to the nth degree. The rustic, acoustic guitar plucking is quickly joined by Dave Carroll, twanging and bouncing on the banjo and this not-so-torrid pace is maintained for the first minute or so while the frontman, Dave Simonett, finds his feet and then, locates in the darkness, his backing vocalists. Tim Saxhaug on the bass joins in next, in typical booming fashion, then Ryan Young eases his fiddle into the picture and finally, here, the pace explodes into all out ecstasy.

“The summer breezes blow so tall
And the winter nights are cold and so long
In between the falling leaves ooh“

There is a flitting and frittering sound coming from of all these stringed instruments. It is the falling leaves. It is a lonely wind. It is the sound of voices far off. It is dark here, there are plenty of stars in the sky, and if you follow them, you will find your way home.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.

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