If you’re wondering where bluegrass is headed in 2019, and where it could go in a world where music is constantly being tasked to evolve and engage to stay relevant to a younger audience, following the career track of Molly Tuttle is a good place to start. Where we believed previously that with such incredible talent throughout the history of bluegrass, all the possibilities in the music had been fleshed out, Molly Tuttle is helping to reshape that mindset, and instilling a shot of youth and energy into the subgenre.
Just off the strength of her 2017 EP Rise and string of stellar live performances, Molly Tuttle is already one of the most decorated young performers in bluegrass, winning the IBMA’s Guitar Player of the Year in 2017 as the first woman ever to do so. She won the award again in 2018, along with Instrumentalist of the Year from the Americana Music Association. She now has a total of four IBMA’s, as well as a numerous songwriting awards.
All of this is from a 25-year-old whose career is just starting. Molly Tuttle is getting ready to release her debut album When You’re Ready on Compass Record April 5th. Produced by Ryan Hewitt, it includes 11 tracks featuring her signature and stunning clawhammer guitar and flatpicking technique that have students of the instrument from around the globe studying and attempting to emulate her innovative style.
Tuttle either wrote or co-wrote all of the 11 tracks on the record, underscoring her talent as both a player, and a composer. Molly earned her first national recognition not just as a guitar player, but when she won the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at the Merlefest Music Festival in 2012. This was also the year she was awarded multiple scholarships to attend the Berklee College of Music. She also won the International Folk Music award for Song of the Year in 2018 for her tune “You Didn’t Call My Name.”
Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Molly Tuttle started playing guitar at age 8, and was playing on stage by 11. The daughter of multi-instrumentalist and bluegrass instructor Jack Tuttle, her family formed a band when she was 15 called The Tuttles. Molly is also part of the First Ladies of Bluegrass supergroup with Alison Brown, Missy Raines, Sierra Hull, and Becky Buller.
Beyond all of the accolades and awards, Molly Tuttle just has an intangible cool factor that makes you want to root for her. She’s unique and vibrant, and not just technically proficient, but touched with that gift for making compelling music—an attribute often referred to as “soul.”
Ahead of When You’re Ready, Molly has made two new tracks available, “Take The Journey,” and “Million Miles” co-written with Steve Poltz and Jewel, and includes Jason Isbell and Sierra Hull guesting on the track.
- Million Miles
- Take The Journey
- Make My Mind Up
- When You’re Ready
- The High Road
- Don’t Let Go
- Light Came In (Power Went Out)
- Messed With My Mind
- Sit Back and Watch It Roll