By Hal Horowitz
These thirteen diverse, sharply composed tracks further establish Molly Tuttle as a creative, well rounded and, above all, world-class talent.
1. El Dorado
2. Where Did All the Wild Things Go?
3. San Joaquin
4. Yosemite (feat. Dave Matthews)
5. Next Rodeo
6. When My Race Is Run
7. Alice in the Bluegrass
8. Stranger Things
9. Down Home Dispensary
10. More Like a River
11. Goodbye Mary
12. Evergreen, OK
13. The First Time I Fell in Love
Molly Tuttle is truly a triple threat artist.
She has a beautifully clear, natural voice, writes superb songs that transcend their rustic boundaries and is a prize-winning guitarist whose jaw-dropping six-string picking nearly overshadows all her other stellar attributes. Oh, and she’s got a great band behind her too.
The most startling thing of all is that Tuttle is just getting started.
City of Gold, her fourth full-length, is the second recorded with Golden Highway, the four-piece road band who have backed her on over 100 dates during the past year alone.
The results, as on 2022’s excellent Crooked Tree, are evident; from the opening perky ‘El Dorado’ to the closing ballad ‘The First Time I Fell in Love’ (the words “with myself” clarify and emphasising such a thought).
Whether displaying the guitar skills that have brought her so many accolades on the frantic ‘San Joaquin’, or explaining why one-night stands don’t work for a travelling musician on ‘Next Rodeo’ (“ain’t got time to do-si-do”), her percussion-free group leaves plenty of breathing room for the melodies and Tuttle’s finely tooled lyrics to land with subtle precision. Suffice to say these songs sound like the result of a well-oiled unit, as opposed to studio pros cashing a paycheck.
Tuttle approaches dying with the same grace, insight and maturity on the laconic and provocative ‘When My Race is Run’ as when describing the breakup with an old boyfriend on a disastrous road trip back from ‘Yosemite’ for the waltz-time ballad of the same name.
Those who caught Tuttle live recently know that her cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ is a show highlight. The tale has captivated her, so much so that she has composed an original tune using those characters for ‘Alice in the Backwoods’, incorporating them into a jaunty, incisive bluegrass narrative.
Before long, the mood turns lively and even socio-political as Tuttle lobbies her state’s politicians to “put a down-home dispensary in Tennessee”, the mandolin, guitar and banjo of Golden Highway zipping through as if playing faster might actually get the job done quicker.
These thirteen diverse, sharply composed tracks, co-produced by veteran Dobro master Jerry Douglas, further establishes Molly Tuttle as a creative, well rounded and, above all, world-class talent, whose best days and larger reach outside her genre are surely ahead of her.
Molly Tuttle's 2023 album, City of Gold, is released July 21st via Nonesuch Records.
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