Over the last decade, Bluegrass has seen it's popularity rise to lengths not seen since the days of Flatt & Scruggs, or even Bill Monroe. Molly Tuttle, alongside her pals Billy Strings and Sierra Hull, can be thanked for that. They have inspired a new wave of like-minded, freewheeling individuals to pick up a banjo or fiddle and write the good write, in the spirit of creative collaboration.
Joining Holler for a special live session at Railbird Festival 2023 on a hot Kentucky Sunday, Tuttle, joined by her band Golden Highway - Shelby Means on the upright bass, Dominick Leslie on the mandolin, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes on the fiddle and the Pit Viper-sporting Kyle Tuttle on the banjo - huddle around the microphone to let rip on three buoyant bluegrass bops that will transport you to a sunny field in Kentucky well before the toke you just had's even had chance to kick in.
Performing three songs from their 2023 album, City of Gold, Tuttle and the band dive straight in with a politicised plea for legalisation.
"Most of us here live in Nashville - Shelby's our one South Carolinian in the band - so this is an appeal to the state of Tennessee" Tuttle explains before they shoot into 'Down Home Dispensary'. Immediately kicking into a bluegrass jingle for a campaign trail, the band bunch and jump around the microphone, throwing in harmonies left right and centre that would have any legislator pay attention.
What's most evident, particularly within the close confines of the session, is the unspoken synergy Tuttle has found with her like-minded friends in the band. "We're going to do one now that, actually, Shelby and I started writing together" Tuttle notions before kicking into another City of Gold highlight, 'Next Rodeo'. As much as Tuttle leads the group, their union as five supremely talented musicians opens up all manner of opportunity for collaboration, something they have made the most of in the sheer calibre of their loose and liberating performance.
Closing on the gift of 'Where The Wild Things Are', the group encapsulate the sheer joy and spirit they can produce into this one ditty. "I wrote this one while thinking about a wild festival scene, kind of like where we're at now. You go out into the campground and there's nothing but people getting dirty in the dust and lines of Porta Potties." Tuttle observes. "This was also kind of inspired by Kyle and his Pit Viper glasses" she jokes, as Kyle looks over his shades and stares down the eyes of the camera lense.
It shows that, if there's anything that encompasses what Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway are about most, it's togetherness. You'll find it hard to find another band that are having as much fun doing what they do as a group than these five, and it's a pleasure to witness.
This is Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway for the Holler Railbird Sessions, performing their songs 'Down Home Dispensary', 'Next Rodeo' and 'Wild Things'.