Trampled By Turtles Alpenglow

By Brian Rock

As Trampled By Turtles approaches their twentieth year together, they pause to contemplate the passing of time on their tenth album, Alpenglow. Named for the fiery phenomenon where the sun creates a golden glow on the mountains at dawn and dusk, the title is a metaphor for approaching life’s sunset while yearning for a new dawn. Mostly forsaking the frenetic fretboard fireworks of their earlier releases, the acclaimed string band settles down into more traditional bluegrass, folk and country tempos to embrace their roots and embark on new paths.

“It’s So Hard To Hold On,” explores the difficulty of holding on to a moment. Lead singer, Dave Simonett begins, “There’s a branch lying still by the ocean. Time goes fast, grab your lover and hold her. It’s the same. All the years come rushing back. Yeah, I don’t remember that.” Like the ocean carrying driftwood on the tides, memories ebb and flow, and sometimes come back in ways we don’t recognize. Ryan Young’s usually boisterous fiddle is transformed into a classical violin as he provides the emotional thread that runs through the song. The rest of the band provides rising and falling guitar, bass, cello, banjo, and mandolin to mimic the flow of time. As the band’s name implies, time can sometimes move so agonizingly slow, and then you blink and wonder where the last twenty years have gone. In creating the video for the song, the band asked fans to send in photos and videos from their attendance at past TBT shows. As the images rapidly replace each other on the screen, you struggle to remember the image that just departed. But at the end, you’re overwhelmed by the emotion that each image captured – the joy of sharing time with loved ones.

The rest of the album ruminates on beginnings and endings and the time between. “Starting Over,” as you might imagine looks at new beginnings. The lively rhythm captures the optimism of a fresh start.  “Central Hillside Blues,” slows the pace to pause and assess where life has led us so far. Seeing the change that time brings, Simonett observes, “Nothing is the same. How could it be?”  Next, Eamonn McLain’s yearning cello enhances the gentle bluegrass rhythms of, “On The Highway.” Like the road in the title, time keeps moving forward as Simonett sighs, “I built a house long ago just to up and leave it.” The question of how to cope with time is brought into sharp focus on “A Lifetime To Find.” The song is a conversation with Death. As the reaper comes to collect his cargo, the soon to be departed realizes, “It takes a lifetime to find a life like the life you had in mind.” Like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, Trampled By Turtles urges us to seize the day – before it’s too late.

“All The Good Times Are Gone,” and “The Party’s Over,” emphasize that point. “Quitting Is Rough,” points out the difficulty of breaking free from our past. It urges us to “swallow every inch of life,” and live each moment to the fullest, even if we don’t know what lies ahead. “Burlesque Desert Window,” captures the joy of living without regrets from the past or worries for the future. Starting with a gleeful yowl , TBT plucks a spritely rhythm as they enjoy the simple pleasure of a “sandy little pasture rolling like a wave in the meadow.” Fully immersed in the present, senses are sharpened and the mind is cleared. “We’re Alright,” uses a slow burning Ragtime rhythm to come full circle. Singing, “I could love you honey till the wheels fall off,” Simonett reminds us that the best way to conquer time is to spend it with the ones we love. With its insightful lyrics and gorgeous rhythms, Alpenglow is definitely time well spent.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

Comments are closed.