By Kari Hedlund

After a year-long hiatus, Trampled by Turtles has released a new album and are out on an international tour. This group of friends consists of guys who either live or seek solace in the peaceful places of the 218, and have lives that are a lot like yours and mine. Except for that whole touring-the-world-for-beloved-fans thing they have going. A break is meant to help give perspective and feel refreshed, and refreshed is definitely a word I would use to describe the new songs and live show.

Their first record in four years, "Life Is Good on the Open Road," seems to appropriately capture the band's essence, leaving space throughout to showcase the talents of the band members. The album has something for fans of all the stages of Trampled by Turtles. Classic, fast-paced signatures like the opener, "Kelly's Bar," written about Dave Simonett's time living in Red Wing, MN while writing his solo effort, Dead Man Winter's "Furnace," and "Blood in the Water," a song that feels intentionally messy. Unhurried, downtempo songs like "Thank You, John Steinbeck" and great storytellers "Right Back Where We Started," "We All Get Lonely," "I Went To Hollywood," and "I'm Not There Anymore." Then songs that are certain to become crowd favorites, "The Middle" and "Annihilate."

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