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Continued: Minnesota's highwaymen: Six days on the road with Trampled by Turtles

During the band’s six-song set, Simonett told their Philadelphia story about getting paid in cigarettes. “It’s nice to see it evolve into all of you,” he said to the crowded room.

As fast as the setup in Rochester, they tore down the stage and tore off to Baltimore. In a rare daytime bus ride across three states to make another unpaid gig, some of the guys slept. Most hit their phones for e-mails, texts or games. The mandolinist tried the bus’ Apple TV to watch “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” but the streaming video proved to be a trickle.

“It took me 2½ hours to watch an hour-and-a-half movie,” said Berry, Trampled’s resident chicken farmer.

In Baltimore, the guys did as much listening as they did talking.

“I saw you at [Del McCoury’s] DelFest and was blown away.”

“I’ve listened to you guys every day for at least the past year.”

“You guys changed my life.”

The band was treated to comments such as these as they autographed copies of “Wild Animals” at the Sound Garden, an uncommonly large record store in an unusually nice part of Baltimore.

No wonder bands still do record-store appearances even though they rarely make money on records. The store was already filling up with fans when the band pulled up to perform another six-song set on a Murphy-bed-like stage that folds out of the wall.

As at every gig that week, numerous fans from back home popped up in Baltimore. One even brought an old sampler CD, “Mayor’s Mix: Duluth Homegrown Music,” with a picture of the city’s hip young mayor, Don Ness. Trampled’s banjo player grinned as he reached for his phone to text Ness:

“I just signed your face.”

 

• • •

 

“We limit the lengths of our tours so everyone gets to go home and see their wives and family. That would be the hardest thing about touring now. Before, the hardest thing was playing a show till midnight and then packing everything up ourselves, loading into a van and driving halfway across the country to get to the next gig.”

Dave Carroll, banjo player

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C.

Saturday, July 19

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  • U.S. Senate staffer Jamie DeAtley, right, staked out a spot to greet singer Dave Simonett and the rest of Trampled by Turtles as they arrived at National Public Radio’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

  • Eamonn McLain demonstrated his own kind of pre-show ritual — and the fact that he’s about a decade younger than the rest of the band at 26 — before the big festival gig in Louisville, Ky.

  • Carroll found his own quiet if not quaint corner behind the Pisgah Brewing Co.’s outdoor stage to warm up his fingers, a pre-show ritual for most of the band members.

  • Dave Simonett on the band’s tour bus before their show in Black Mountain, N.C.

  • Trampled’s frontman took a last-minute smoke break before a WXPN-FM broadcast at World Café Live in Philadelphia — where he remembered a prior show that paid only in cigarettes.

  • The bigger the crowd, the shorter the sound check: Trampled by Turtles hit the stage running in front of about 10,000 fans at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky., playing before fellow Minnesotans the Replacements. From left: Dave Simonett, Dave Carroll, Ryan Young and Erik Berry.

  • String tech Dave Feirn tuned Dave Simonett’s guitar a few minutes before Trampled by Turtles played to a crowd of 10,000 people at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville.

  • Before they began the sound check for their show in Black Mountain, N.C., the band ironed out the kinks in their rendition of the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

  • As guitar tech Dave Feirn and tour manager Mike Tholen stood by, Dave Carroll cleared his eyes and Dave Simonett, Tim Saxhaug and Eamonn McLain tested their gear at the Forecastle Festival.

  • Trampled by Turtles’ taping of a segment for “CBS This Morning” at a studio in Manhattan was delayed and then postponed as the story of a Ukrainian airliner being shot down unfolded.

  • Erik Berry’s well-traveled mandolin.

  • Simonett dug out his luggage from the bus cargo hold to find a fresh T-shirt.

  • Who says kids don’t buy records anymore? A mostly young crowd filled the aisles for Trampled by Turtles’ in-store set and album signing at the Sound Garden in Baltimore.

  • Cellist Eamonn McLain finished his sound check for a “CBS This Morning” taping in New York as the story of a downed Ukrainian airliner unfolded onscreen behind them. The band’s appearance ultimately got bumped by the breaking news.

  • Trampled’s two Daves got to unwind during Beck’s set at the Forecastle Festival before flying home the next day, capping off a two-week stretch with a three-day break.

  • Engineer Kevin Wait adjusted the microphone during sound check for Trampled by Turtles’ “Tiny Desk Concert” taping at NPR’s offices in Washington, DC.

  • TRAMPLED BY TURTLES

    Playing: The Festival Palomino Sept. 20 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. With: The Head & the Heart, Low, Charles Bradley, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Field Report, Spirit Family Reunion, more. Tickets: $34, FestivalPalomino.com.

    SEE AND HEAR

    At startribune.com/turtles: See a full photo gallery and video feature with Trampled by Turtles as well as their archived Letterman TV appearance.

    Tiny Desk Concert: NPR.org. WXPN Free at Noon: Archived at XPN.org.

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