Molly Tuttle Makes a Lasting Memory at Telluride Bluegrass 2024

Molly Tuttle and her band Golden Highway played the penultimate set at the 51st Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival Sunday evening (6-24), leaving it all out on the stage, and in the case of Molly Tuttle, bearing more than just her soul.

As Tuttle said in 2022 when she made her first appearance at Telluride with Golden Highway, she writes her music and formed the Golden Highway band very specifically for stages like the one in Telluride, CO. It’s a place that supports the roots of bluegrass music, along with a more open-minded approach to the genre. This is the same approach Molly Tuttle brings to her music. It’s distinctly bluegrass, but is unafraid to get adventurous, especially with the lyrical content.

Tuttle came up attending and playing Telluride in multiple capacities. So did Golden Highway mandolin player Dominick Leslie who is originally from Colorado. He talked from the stage about growing up at the festival and attending on an annual basis.

Molly Tuttle also grew up studying the work of Australian guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel, who also happened to play the festival on Sunday, performing with dobro legend Jerry Douglas, who happened to produce Molly Tuttle’s last two albums.

Tommy Emmanuel came out to perform with Tuttle in a “guitar off” that rivaled the artistry Billy Strings and Chris Thile captured in their now viral moment on the Telluride stage. The two played a supped up version of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues.”

Then Jerry Douglas came out and spent the second half of the set sitting in with the Golden Highway band.

Also important to note, Golden Highway fiddler Bronwyn Keith-Hynes just released a new album of her own called I Built A World. Golden Highway is one of those bands where each individual member could be their own solo act from the talent they bring to the table.

Molly Tuttle’s last album City of Gold (2023) won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, as did her 2022 album Crooked Tree. For the next to last song of the Telluride set, Molly explained how she’d grown up with alopecia, which causes hair loss. It’s was the inspiration for her song “Crooked Tree,” co-written with Melody Walker who happened to be in the Telluride crowd as well.

Tuttle then did something the crowd soon won’t forget. She whipped off her wig to huge applause (see pictures below), and brought the house down with her rendition of “Crooked Tree.”

Molly Tuttle played Telluride two years ago as a midday act. Now she is a bona fide headliner in bluegrass and beyond. This is of the best bands in bluegrass, and turned in a performance for the Telluride faithful that they won’t soon forget.

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Full review of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival forthcoming. For more coverage from Telluride and other live events, follow Saving Country Music on Instagram. All photos by Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos.

Bronwyn Keith-Hynes
Kyle Tuttle
Shelby Means
Dominick Leslie
Jerry Douglas sitting in
Tommy Emmanuel with Molly Tuttle
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