Blues Underground Network

Trampled Under Foot "Badlands" (USA)
Blues Underground Network 5***** Rated 

 Editorial Review

Given their upbringing, it's no wonder the siblings in Trampled Under Foot have become one of the most buzzed-about blues bands. Singer-bassist Danielle Schnebelen, singer-guitarist Nick Schnebelen and drummer Kris Schnebelen lived and breathed the blues while growing up in Kansas City, a town known for its legendary scene.

"Our dad was in bar bands but he was also recognized as a great blues guitar player," says Nick in describing the influence his father, Bob, 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."

Nick started out in an East Coast band, while his brother and sister played in separate groups in Kansas City. Catching up over the phone, they unanimously decided the time was right to join forces. "We just decided to go for it," says Nick. Danielle learned to play bass and Nick moved back home; they christened the group Trampled Under Foot. "The bonds are stronger with family, says Kris. You're more familiar with each other, that's for sure."

After several heralded self-released albums, Trampled Under Foot debuts Badlands on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group. 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, Taj Mahal) to play keys. Johnny Lee Schell, who also recorded the album, adds acoustic guitar to one track and Lisa Swedelund provides some additional backing vocals. John Porter mixed the final results at Independent Street Studios in New Orleans.

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Following Review Excerpt Courtesy Of Richard MacDougall

Thereís always something special about sibling groups.  Maybe itís the fact that the related band members share much of their background with each other, resulting in the musical elements brought to the band coming from a similar place.  Or maybe itís simply that thereís a heart-warming element to seeing brothers and sisters playing music together.  Either way, know that all three members of Trampled Under Foot share the same musical influences, the same drive for success, and the same parents.

Trampled Under Footís major label debut, Badlands, has a particular unity to it.  The album will leave you feeling as though youíre going somewhere, and at thirteen tracks it takes its time.  The trio have an organic sound perhaps a little too lush for an album called Badlands.  Electric pianos and guitars quiver in and out atop heavy, driving drum work.  Vocal duty is split between Danielle and Nick Schnebelen, each bringing a different element to the music that goes beyond the difference between a male and female vocalist.  Nickís voice has a soulful, rock and roll quality to it, whereas Danielleís a strong earnestness.  The unabashed southern elements that comprise the instrumentation adhere well to Trampled Under Footís strong melodies, and Badlands avoids getting caught in the trap of monotony.

Trampled Under Foot shines best in their edgier, riff-based songs, such as ďI Didnít Try.Ē  An element of quirkiness is added here as well, as the occasional bar is cut off halfway to make room for the next.

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