Trampled by Turtles turns 10

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER , Vita.mn | Updated 4/17/2013

Duluth pickers Trampled by Turtles celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Trampled by Turtles
Photo provided by Sacks & Co

Dave Simonett apparently is not the nostalgic type. As his ever-growing, independent acoustic quintet Trampled by Turtles prepares to mark its 10th anniversary with three sold-out shows starting Wednesday at First Avenue, surely the band’s frontman is feeling a sense of pride in his group’s early albums. Right?

“No, not at all,” Simonett said without hesitation. “I mean, I like them for their moment-in-time snapshot quality, but none of them would be good enough for us now.”

TBT’s 2012 album “Stars and Satellites” did set the high standard for the Duluth-bred pickers. Thus, the real celebration might not be hitting the decade mark — although that is impressive for a band that formed simply because Simonett’s electric guitar was stolen, and he had to go acoustic.

What Trampled’s members really seem happy about is wrapping up their most successful year yet.

Without label support, they sold 70,000-plus copies of “Stars and Satellites,” played Letterman, Conan, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, plus more than 150 other dates.

“We achieved a lot of things we’ve been working toward,” said Simonett, who quit touring in time for the birth of his second child last month. “The only downside is, now we’re like, ‘What’s next?’ ”

Starting Wednesday, though, the band is looking back, not forward. Simonett confirmed they will dust off older songs for all three nights, and he is at least happy about that.

“Some of those songs are still very fun to play. When you’ve been touring for a new album like we have, playing old songs actually feels new.”

Simonett and his TBT bandmates are also excited to be welcoming 16 other acts they handpicked to perform with them at First Ave and the adjoining 7th Street Entry, including many from Duluth. They’re so psyched about it, in fact, they offered us these night-by-night picks in their own words:

WEDNESDAY

Fat Kid Wednesdays: “I would go almost every week when they played Mondays in the Clown Lounge at the Turf Club,” said TBT fiddler Ryan Young. “They would get me excited to play my own music.”

Actual Wolf: “Eric Pollard has been a friend to the band for as long as we’ve been around,” said TBT bassist Tim Saxhaug. “His new project shows his talent as a frontman and songwriter.”

Next of Kin: “This is one of my favorite Duluth bands,” Saxhaug said. “Imagine if Mazzy Starr and Gram Parsons bred a band.”

NEXT THURSDAY

The Pines: “Their somber, beautiful, melodic songs have a sound that — in my opinion — is all their own,” Simonett said.

Corpse Reviver: “An incredible trio of musicians playing songs from ‘The Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music,’ ” Young said.

Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank: “Before I ever thought about moving to Duluth, I was a fan of Teague Alexy & the Medication,” said TBT mandolinist Erik Berry. “Since they broke up and Teague and his brother Ian formed the Hobo Nephews, I have always been able to get my fix.”

Real Bulls: “JT Bates and Dave King. Two percussionists,” Young said. “I’m sorry if you didn’t get tickets to this night.”

NEXT FRIDAY

Erik Koskinen: “The very first time I saw him play years ago, I was hooked,” said TBT banjo player Dave Carroll.

Southwire: “One of my favorite Duluth bands, with a really interesting gospel/indie-roots/hip-hop sound,” Carroll said.

Charlie Parr: “I mean, c’mon — an astounding fingerstyle blues guitar and clawhammer banjo player, with a hell of a singing voice, who writes brilliant and catchy songs that are insightful, empathetic studies of down-and-out characters,” Berry said.

Trampled by Turtles

When: Wed.-next Fri.

Where: First Avenue and 7th Street Entry.

Tickets: Sold out.