Growing up in Palo Alto, California, Molly Tuttle was surrounded by music. Her dad was a teacher at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, which is not-so-coincidentally where I got the pickups installed on my mini harp. Molly took to the guitar early and intensely, eventually earning a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. But I think it was those early days growing up in California, attending bluegrass festivals with her family, basking in the glow of the jam, that set the tone for her warm and collaborative approach to playing music.
At Berklee, Molly formed a band called “The Goodbye Girls,” and cut her teeth touring in Scandinavia. Digging into The Goodbye Girls was a good launchpad for talking about what it means to be a female musician in Americana, as well as what happens when you explicitly call yourself an all-female group. As the first woman to win the IBMA Guitarist of the Year award, Molly has a unique perspective on this particular conundrum. It’s juicy.
I talked with Molly about her debut album, When You’re Ready, and her dazzling covers album …But I’d Rather Be With You before sifting through the many layers of her latest album, Crooked Tree. Crooked Tree features Molly’s brand-new band, Golden Highway. This new record is a study of bluegrass sensitively executed by one of the genre’s stars. Molly’s interpretations of bluegrass traditions like the murder ballad, shiny stacked vocal harmonies, and lightning fast guitar playing, are something to behold.
Photo Credit: Samantha Muljat
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