Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Old Settler's Music Festival preview

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Ruby Jane

8:45pm, Campground Stage

Now rooted in Texas after moving from Mississippi, where she was raised, Ruby Jane faces many choices. At 16, her playing commands the attention of Willie Nelson, but she's also a triple threat of picking, writing, and singing. Years of playing festivals have prepared her for the inevitable next step: a debut full-length. – Margaret Moser

Trampled by Turtles

Palomino (Banjodad)

South by Southwest headliners last month, Trampled by Turtles fiddle a combustible acoustic stampede that the Minnesota quintet then betrays no trouble bottling on fifth disc Palomino. "Wait So Long" bursts out of the gate, its introductory tune-up chomping at the bit as Dave Carroll's banjo begins rolling downhill while Ryan Young blazes fiddle. Erik Berry's mandolin quickly reaches supersonic speeds to the thump and strum of bassist Tim Saxhaug and guitarist Dave Simonett, who sings with a young man's bravado ("nothing happens in this burnt-out town anymore"). All that string mingle empties into TBT's single-stream rurality, principle songwriter Simonett excelling in a moonshine mix of pastoral romance and bluegrass fatalism. Instrumental derbies ("It's a War") hit trucker meth speeds even as they contrast a riverly pace ("Separate"). When the two meet on "New Son/Burnt Iron," the Turtles can't be stopped. "Help You" serves the hit, Simonett's new country sweetness of the 1970s a sure hook, though "New Orleans" underlines his Southern soulfulness, and closer "Again" sets on faint rays of the Band. Nothing sluggish about these omnivores. (Thu., 10:30pm, Campground Stage)

**** – Raoul Hernandez

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