Friday, April 27, 2012

Trampled by Turtles: Stars and Satellites

I've had a bad case of cabin fever this winter.  I itch to set out on the road with some hiking boots, my acoustic guitar, and a friend or two.  A week of adventure and meditation sounds like a far better idea than taking my upcoming final exams.

These are thoughts of the girl who has been trapped in science labs all semester.

Lucky for me, Stars and Satellites, the new album from the progressive bluegrass group Trampled by Turtles, provides me a brief mental getaway from the drudgery fun that is memorizing dozens of chemical reactions.

But seriously.  Stars and Satellites can whisk you away from the sidewalk and bring you deep into the mountains.  There is an artful blend of a quiet, intimate dynamic and an energetic, orchestral quality to the music, sometimes even in the same track.

The second track on the album, Alone, exemplifies this quality.  The elevation and transformation of sound that the music undergoes in this track is both uplifting and beautiful.

And exquisite, delicate beauty, while not always closely associated with bluegrass genre, is thoroughly present in this album.

Trampled by Turtles is an expert in evocation.  The opening track, Midnight on the Interstate, has a country charm that suggests a starry and cool summer night, while other tracks such as Beautiful, evoke intimate, personal sentiments.

There is also a fair share of energized, bouncy bluegrass tracks that will have you bobbing your head along to the banjo.  Risk, an instrumental, and Sorry, a song that has a nice juxtaposition between sassy lyrics about a muddled and morbid love affair and a fun, bouncy tune.  Other tracks of note are Walt Whitman and Widower's Heart.

Although I am becoming a scientist, listening to this album makes me want to trade in my Bunson Burner for a banjo.