By Hap Fry
Maybe it was while playing The Workman’s Club in Dublin or some other venue in Ireland or the United Kingdom this past November when Ryan Young and the rest of his Trampled by Turtles bandmates became fully aware of how inherently different Western European audiences are than those in the United States.
“You know, in the States, and in Canada too, when we’re playing a show anything from chatter to fistfights can go on during a song,” Young said during a recent phone interview with The Marquee from his Saint Paul, Minnesota home. “When we played in the U.K. and Ireland, everyone was silent, still and paying attention – just very respectful. It was sort of odd for us because we’re not really used to that, but they seemed to really enjoy the show, and the crowds were always great.”
The Minnesota-based bluegrass group isn’t packing its bags and moving to Jolly Old, but there is no denying that their visit to the Old World has left a lasting impression on the musicians. The old haunts Young and his mates played included McHugh’s Basement Bar in Belfast, Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, The HiFi Club in Leeds, and Hare & Hounds in Birmingham, where UB40 played its first gig.
“It was quite interesting,” said Young, the group’s fiddle player. “Every show we played, a different local band played with us, which really was cool.
One of Young’s more memorable moments abroad came in Dublin when he came across the statue of Phil Lynott (Skid Row, Thin Lizzy) on Grafton Street. “Very cool,” he said. “I’ll always remember that. Of the places we played, Dublin was my favorite. Dublin was just awesome. We had a bunch of time to check out the city so we did a lot of walking, ate at some good restaurants, had a good show and met some really cool people. Everything about Dublin was really great. I’d love to go back there.”
Young said Trampled by Turtles already are plotting their return to Europe next summer, but before returning they have some business to take care of stateside, and they also plan to take a short break before heading overseas again.
Not surprisingly, the gigs this month in Colorado will be of particular importance because that’s where the nine-year-old band spent much of its time cutting its teeth and building its fan base.
“Colorado really is where we first started to tour,” Young said. “Beside Minnesota, we’ve been there the longest and the most. We’ve kind of built up a thing there.”
Formed in 2003, the group admits that they were a longshot, at the absolute best, to make it where they are now — among the groups leading the charge of the bluegrass, indie folk and alternative country scene.
“I can probably speak for everybody in the band when I say that this is a surprise,” said Young, a former drummer in a heavy metal band. “None of the success we’ve enjoyed was really expected – maybe hoped for, but not expected. I mean, it started as a side project so it wasn’t even anybody’s main musical focus.
“All of the main bands people were in either broke up or fell by the wayside. Trampled by Turtles then kind of just took over for everyone. There were very little expectations for this little side project. Never in a million years would I have expected us to be playing on Letterman (which the group did in April of 2012) and touring Europe,” said Young.
Now, the group not only is planning a return back to Europe, it’s continuing to build on what it has achieved in the States, which includes the creation of six studio albums. The latest album, Stars and Satellites, was released in April of last year.
“I think where we are now is in a pretty good spot,” Young said. “I like that we haven’t had a big hit. I’ve seen too many bands over the years get that big hit and then all of the sudden there’s no place for them to go but down, and then unfortunately where they end up going is they break up. I like where this is going, which is a slow, steady climb up. It’s a little more difficult, for sure, but it’s definitely good for our longevity.”
:: Trampled by Turtles ::
:: Ogden Theatre :: January 10 and 11 ::
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