Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 19 December 2011 19:44

Concert review: William Elliot Whitmore and Trampled by Turtles embrace and transcend the blues at the Old Rock House, Saturday, December 17

Concert review: William Elliot Whitmore and Trampled by Turtles embrace and transcend the blues at the Old Rock House, Saturday, December 17 Nate Burrell
Written by Matt Champion
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Progressive bluegrass speedsters Trampled by Turtles ended their most recent tour with an energetic show at the Old Rock House.

Iowa native and one-man band William Elliot Whitmore opened his set with a banjo and foot drum-based dirge that sounded as if he was channeling a spirit of the Delta that had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. His vocals sounded like what I imagine Tom Waits would sound like if he'd had less whiskey and cigars in his younger days.

Whether strumming his banjo or guitar or pounding out the beat with his foot drum, Whitmore's stripped-down, stark sound accompanied his lyrics of love, loss, prison, hard work and crooked cops and politicians perfectly. Good bluesmen don't play the blues, they live it. If I'd have closed my eyes, I could have easily been at a dusty road stop in the deep South, listening to a drifter playing to get enough cash to make it to his next stop.

Trampled by Turtles hit the stage next, starting with a slower ballad that highlighted their fantastic vocal harmonies and skill with their instruments. Shortly after, they opened into their trademark sound, what to me sounds like the bluegrass equivalent of speed metal. Their playing was technically flawless, their hands a blur of strumming, picking and fretting away at high speed.

I'm not sure if it was my location in the venue, the overall mix coming out of the speakers or a combination of the two but when the band kicked it into overdrive it became hard to hear what was going on. You could see that very complex pieces were being played, but the finesse was overshadowed by the massive sound coming out of the PA. I also found that the lack of detail coming out through the system made a lot of their faster songs sound like the last 30 seconds of the Who classic "Baba O'Riley." That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I think a little less volume would have done just to the band's sonic palette.

Despite my complaints about the sound levels, Trampled by Turtles put on a great show. They changed between fast and slower tunes enough to keep everyone on their toes. The sheer talent of those five guys was abundantly clear. I especially enjoyed Ryan Young's fiddle playing on the slower tunes. I've seen some great fiddle players this past year, but I haven't seen many who were that expressive with their instrument.

Highlights of the show for me were "Victory," "Wait So Long" and their encore which consisted of fantastic covers of the folk tune "Sloop John B" and the Pixies classic "Where is My Mind."

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Jah Orah and KD Assassin

Wed November 19

Durango

Sun October 26
Durango is a two-man band with a progressive, heavy rock sound. The band's latest album, "Technologigical Advances," is a concept album that is meant to be heard as a whole unit. To download a track from…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-mix.jpg

KDHX Recommends

December
Friday
05

Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn

An internationally known musician, composer and innovator, Roscoe Mitchell began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago. NYC pianist and ECM recording artist, Craig Taborn, has remained a ubiquitous presence on the...


December
Thursday
11

KDHX Discovery Series: History of Psychedelia

The KDHX Discovery Series presents the "History of Psychedelia," with DJ valis. KDHX DJ, valis will take you on a multimedia journey through the annals of psychedelic musical history. The evening will feature a...


December
Sunday
14

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid...

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid... 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holiday Sing-along Sunday, December 14 at Noon. Tickets available online.  Toys, clothes, food and other gifts will be collected at the door for...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

0 users and 11144 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook