Concert Review: Trampled By Turtles (Koka Booth Amphitheatre)

BY JERRY FRIEND On a breezy Thursday night in Cary, NC at Koka Booth’s wooded amphitheater, an excited crowd filled the outdoor spaces fo...

BY JERRY FRIEND

On a breezy Thursday night in Cary, NC at Koka Booth’s wooded amphitheater, an excited crowd filled the outdoor spaces for a night of live music. Benjamin Tod, his wife Ashley Mae and their bandmates in the Lost Dog Street Band were there to warm up the crowd with their dark version of Country music built from hardship. Whether it’s his surviving a rough childhood, to his struggles with addiction and mental health that led him to busking on the streets to scrape by and riding the rails searching for something, anything to stop the pain, the skills that were forged by the need to somehow capture an audience out of strangers as they speed by on a busy city sidewalk now serve these street musicians well as they were forced to learn a different type of theater, that requires strong vocal projection, and extra, extra showmanship that resembles early Vaudeville. In the past, we have seen in other North Carolina acts that successfully transitioned from the streets to the stage, such as The Blue Rags, or more recently Sierra Ferrell is another rising star that traveled a similar path, busking her way to fame by way of a trail made with blood, sweat, and tears.



You can hear the honesty in their songs and a hint of Woody Guthrie, as well as that legacy of folk music that’s always been born out of the cries from the poor that’s really just a form of therapy, a plea to help carry on and a cure of sorts to help release the tension, and escape the blues. Folk music, the Blues, and their influence on Country music have long been a way for people to share their stories to retell the tales of a life lived on the roads and the rails, of hunger and loss with anyone that would listen either on a street corner or now for their fans and audiences across the country.



The crowd loved the opening band but they were ecstatic to welcome Trampled By Turtles to the stage. The Folk-influenced band definitely is part of a bigger trend that has us seeing bands pushing the boundaries of what is considered Bluegrass music. The band that hails from Duluth, Minnesota faced cheering fans the moment they stepped out on the stage. They play a very fast frenetic sound that owes as much to rock and roll as it does to the Bluegrass instrumentation. Many fans admit that they wouldn’t consider themselves fans of Bluegrass music but there is just something difficult to pin down about Trampled By Turtles and their music that draws them into their sound.

Dave Simonett began with the idea to form the band in 2003 after most of his music gear, except for his acourstic guitar, was stolen from his vehicle after a gig with another band. He decided he wanted to pursue a project that didn’t require amplification, something that would be inspired by Bluegrass and Folk, but he wanted to form the band with other members who were also newcomers to genre.



It was finding the band mates that helped solidify their unique sound. Adding fiddle player Ryan Young, who previously played drums in a metal band, as well as bassist Tim Saxhaug, along with mandolinist Erik Berry, and Dave Carroll on banjo, allowed the band to quickly carve out their unique sound. In a genre steeped in tradition, the band stood out. But it took until they released their fourth record Duluth in 2008, before the bluegrass community took notice. That record managed to peak at number eight on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and earned them some appearances in front of some larger festival audiences. The band’s next release Palomino in 2010 launched them further towards success in the Bluegrass world but also started their crossover success with rock audiences as well, earning them spots at larger festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and ACL Fest and led to the release of their 2013 Live Concert recording Live At First Avenue. Their most recent studio effort, Alpenglow, was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and it’s the reason the band is out on tour now promoting their new songs.

Trampled by Turtles Setlist Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary, NC, USA 2024
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    • JERRY FRIEND
      • Jerry Friend has spent most of his life chasing the joy that live music brings. Originally from Florida, he’s been in North Carolina the last 23 years after he settled in Burlington, NC. A systems administrator by day. In his free time, he enjoys photographing live performances by artists at clubs, concerts and festivals. His goal is to try to capture those experiences through his lens and be able to share these images with others. As a fan of artists that span diverse music genres, you might find him at shows that include Bluegrass to Jazz, Jam bands, Alternative Country to Electronic Dance Music, Rock and even Pop music. He loves to travel to festivals, in the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic. He also enjoys collecting show posters and vinyl records.

        Read Jerry's posts here.

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Strange Carolinas: The Travelogue Of The Offbeat: Concert Review: Trampled By Turtles (Koka Booth Amphitheatre)
Concert Review: Trampled By Turtles (Koka Booth Amphitheatre)
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