A slow and steady climb wins for Trampled by Turtles

By Jake Krzeczowski January 23, 2013 1:56PM

Originally Appeared for Chicago Sun-Times

Updated: January 23, 2013 2:06PM

In an age when a kid in a YouTube video can become a star overnight, Trampled by Turtles’ steady climb to popularity is a refreshing reminder of the days when artists were judged on the quality of their music.

In today’s music world, “making it” has become relative as the Internet and conglomeration of digital music have made it harder than ever to gauge the path for success.

If ticket sales still count, the folk/bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles, who play a sold out show Thursday at the Vic, may have found a measuring stick.

Trampled By Turtles has steadily risen up the charts
Trampled By Turtles has steadily risen up the charts

The band’s steady rise has been as much a surprise to the members as anyone else.

“So far. the tour has gone way past our expectation,” said Ryan Young, who plays the fiddle and lends back-up vocals. “Just about every show we’ve played has been sold out and some are selling out in advance, which is incredible. So far, so good.”

So good, indeed. The Duluth, Minn., band got its unusual name from a collaborative brainstorming session in which band members chose a moniker “they didn’t totally hate.”

That was in 2003. Since then, slow and steady has won the race for Trampled by Turtles by remaining consistent and knowing what fits the band’s sound.

The band really burst onto the national landscape with its 2010 release, “Palomino.”

“We just did the same thing, or didn’t do anything particularly different when ‘Palomino’ came out,” Young said. “That one did better than our previous work and we didn’t change much with our latest release, ‘Stars and Satellites,’ but that did even better than ‘Palomino.’ ”

With 2012 in the rearview, the band has no plans to stop any time soon, with festival dates peppering its schedule, with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado on June 20-23 circled in particular.

If nothing else, Trampled by Turtles won’t be caught off-guard in front of the sold out crowd at the Vic.

“There’s a lot of good acoustic music acts out there that don’t get as much recognition as we do and I can’t really say why,” Young said. “I think it’s something in our songs that really resonates with people; we’re definitely excited to bring that to our fans in Chicago.”

Jake Krzeczowski is a free-lance writer. Follow him on Twitter: @jakekrez.

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