Memorable hooks, bright melodies and a wonderful blend of guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle set against reflective lyrics.
‘Alpenglow’ is the tenth studio album by Minnesota-based Trampled by Turtles, and what a great record it is. With Dave Simonett on lead vocals and guitar, Erik Berry on mandolin, Ryan Young on fiddle, Dave Carroll on banjo, Tim Saxhaug on bass and Eamonn McLain on cello, with all contributing to beautifully layered harmonies throughout, the musicianship is stunning.
Recorded in Chicago at the studio of producer Jeff Tweedy, it consists of eleven songs, ten of them written by Simonett, the eleventh by Tweedy himself- ‘A Lifetime To Find‘- that mainly contemplate the passing of time, looking back to the past, at times with a longing for days gone by, whilst facing the uncertainties of what the future will bring. Song titles such as ‘All The Good Times Are Gone‘ and ‘The Party’s Over‘ hint at a melancholy collection, and indeed there is a sadness and a pessimism in a lot of the lyrics, but there is optimism and hope too, most notably in ‘Nothing But Blue Skies‘ and ‘Burlesque Desert Window‘.
Taking its title from the optical phenomenon that occurs when the sun casts a reddish glow across the mountains at dawn and at dusk, this evocative image is well in keeping with the songs on ‘Alpenglow‘. Simonett is highly skilled at writing memorable hooks and bright melodies, and with the wonderful blend of guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle set against his reflective lyrics, there is an upbeat feel to the music and the overriding message is very special; make the most of the time you have and the people you care about, and savour them while you can. After almost twenty years together, the band reached out to their fans and asked them to send in photos and videos of their experiences at Trampled by Turtles shows. They were completely overwhelmed by what they received, especially the hundreds of heartfelt stories and emotional sentiments that accompanied them, and the result is a joyful video to accompany opening track ‘It’s So Hard To Hold On‘. If you are not familiar with Trampled by Turtles, start here!