HARD-CHARGING FAMILY BAND TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT SET TO RELEASE BADLANDS JULY 9, 2013
Telarc debut reveals a musically sophisticated young sister/brother/brother trio heavily inspired by classic blues and rock
Given their upbringing, it’s no wonder Trampled Under Foot have quickly become one of the hottest up-and-coming blues bands on the circuit today. Siblings Danielle Schnebelen (lead vocals and bass), Nick Schnebelen (guitars and vocals) and Kris Schnebelen, (drums) have a lifelong connection with the blues. Growing up in Kansas City, MO, the hard-charging trio soaked up the music of their parents, who were active in the thriving blues scene.
“Our dad was in bar bands but he was also recognized as a great blues guitar player,” says Nick, describing the influence his father had on his music. “He’d take us to blues jams where we’d meet some real old school artists and hear a huge cross section of roots music.” His father’s love of poetry also made an impact. “It led to a more intellectual style of writing and tipped us off to some techniques that made our music more dynamic.”
After years of playing in separate bands, Danielle, Kris and Nick decided to keep things in the family and formed Trampled Under Foot (TUF). “The bonds are stronger with family,” Kris says. “You’re more familiar with each other, that’s for sure.”
“We just decided to go for it,” adds Nick. “In our younger years, we were still developing, so it was good to take on this group in our early- to mid-twenties after we already had some experience under our belts.”
A pivotal moment came in 2008 when Trampled Under Foot headed to Memphis for the Blues Foundation’s 24th International Blues Challenge and walked away with first place, proving to the world that they’re a band to be reckoned with. Nick also took home the prestigious Albert King Award for best guitarist. “When we won, I couldn’t believe it,” says Danielle. “It opened up a lot of doors for us, and we got some really great gigs out of it.”
After several acclaimed self-released albums, Trampled Under Foot debuts Badlands July 9, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group. Toughened by years of nonstop roadwork, Badlands reveals a musical sophistication well beyond the band’s years.
On Badlands, the band worked again with producer Tony Braunagel at his Ultratone Studios in California. The drummer in the Phantom Blues Band, Braunagel plays some percussion on the album and recruited veteran keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James) to play keys. Johnny Lee Schell, who also recorded the album, adds acoustic guitar to one track and even mother Lisa Swedelund provides some additional backing vocals. John Porter mixed the final results at Independent Street Studios in New Orleans.
“Tony Braunagel is awesome,” Nick says. “He’s the guru guy. He has a blues crew. They’ve all been playing together for 20 plus years. We came on their team. I was excited about the star quality of the guys on the album, but their musical ability let us really dig in. Mike Finnigan plays more piano and organ and Rhodes than he did on the last record. That makes the record shine so much more.”
The album shows off the band’s maturity right from the opening notes of the first track, the break-up ballad “Bad Bad Feeling.” Danielle sounds particularly vulnerable (and hurt) as she adopts the persona of a woman scorned and sings, “You say I’m crazy/I’m making it up” and recounts seeing “the other woman” at a party. While the songs on the album aren’t all dark, they do have a sharper edge to them than the tunes on the band’s previous studio efforts.
“Everyone’s writing ability came up,” says Nick. “And there’s grittier guitar on this record that I’m excited about. We don’t pick one style of rock blues. There’s gospel and full-on dirty blues. There’s also a danceable quality.”