Trampled By Turtles have been bringing us excellent bluegrass since 2004, but their sixth, most recent release, Stars and Satellites, is an exception to their great body of work.
Compared to the past fiddle-filled albums, this effort is a gloomy mess.
The first track, “Midnight On the Interstate,” starts out slow and rather sleepy. Speed is a tricky element with string bands. It can be their greatest asset or their worst enemy. Fast songs are easy to like, because they are what listeners gravitate toward — an uptempo song just easily grabs an audience’s attention. And although a slow song can give a string band some substance, the majority of the songs on Stars and Satellites are too sluggish.
It appears that frontman Dave Simonett sacrifices the usual boot-tapping tempo in the name of composition. On most tracks, Simonett is trying to advance the subtly of the quintet’s composition. In a sense, the songwriting is deeper throughout this album, but it takes some time to get into.
Yes, admittedly, the songs that are slow aren’t horrible, it’s just that the majority of these tracks are riddled with sadness, not an interesting level of energy.
People: Dave Simonett