Molly Tuttle press photo
Samantha Muljat

10 Molly Tuttle Songs That Best Showcase Her Sunny California Bluegrass Sound

Easily one of the best flatpicking bluegrass guitarists around, Molly Tuttle stormed onto the scene in the second half of the 2010's and instantly captivated fans and critics alike with her insatiable picking, heavenly vocals and captivating storytelling. 

Already a winner of multiple International Bluegrass Music Awards and other honors including "Guitar Player Of The Year" (2017) and "Instrumentalist Of The Year" (2018) along with being a frequent collaborator with Old Crow Medicine Show, Billy Strings and others, Tuttle is revered by her peers and has quickly taken a place as a modern day trailblazer of the bluegrass genre.

Now with three albums of original tunes under her belt following the release of Crooked Tree earlier this year, we've compiled our favorite songs from the still blossoming star below.

10. "Good Enough"

One of the most striking things about Tuttle's music, aside from her dynamite picking, of course, is the humility and introspective nature of her songwriting. "Good Enough," a story about lingering feelings of dissatisfaction and something missing in one's life, exemplifies this. Tuttle may be singing about her own demons she's struggling with throughout the tune, but her message and experience is one that resonates with countless people no matter where they are or what they do.

9. "You Didn't Call My Name"

A story about missed opportunities, "You Didn't Call My Name" is a sobering tale that won Tuttle "Song Of The Year" at the International Folk Music Awards in 2018. Written just prior to Tuttle moving from California to Nashville, the song sees Tuttle opening up about a love that ended too soon, showing how timing and other factors can get in the way of something no matter how right it feels in the moment.

8. "Crooked Tree"

A co-write with Front Country's Melody Walker, the title track from Tuttle's fourth album Crooked Tree embraces the artist's and others' quirky qualities that make them crooked trees that won't fit into the mill machine like all the straight trees but instead are left to grow wild and free. The ditty is ripe with symbolism, encouraging people to be proud of what makes them unique rather than trying to hide it to fit in because our differences are our biggest strengths, not anything to be ashamed of.

7. "Friend And A Friend"

Tuttle teamed up with fellow songwriter Korby Lenker to pen "Friend And A Friend," a song about the struggles and loneliness associated with life on the road and how you can never have enough friends to support you along the way. From imagining new crowds every day when you roll into a new town to "The empty coffee cups rolling back and forth inside the van," the song presents a side-by-side of the highs and lows of touring and the people that help make it a little easier for a woman walking in the Wild West whose "Got a big dream and a worn out D-18."

6. "The High Road"

Tuttle sings of a past love on the visceral confessional "The High Road," a co-write with Sarah Siskind oozing with raw emotion as she sings of a relationship that left her broken and burned. These feelings are best articulated in the song's second verse in which Tuttle sings "The road we're traveling / Has been unraveling / The sunny days were never meant to last / We tried to fake it / Thought we could make it / 'Til the garden turned to ash."

5. "Dooley's Farm"

Tuttle's storytelling shines along fellow star picker Billy Strings on "Dooley's Farm," a modern take on traditional ballad "Dooley" that casts the main character as a modern day outlaw slinging moonshine as told from the perspective of Dooley's granddaughter. A co-write with Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor, the song takes on a dark tone with a riff similar to Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Snake Farm'' as Tuttle and Strings harmonize together to tell the tale of an outlaw passing himself off as a simpleton farmer.

4. "Million Miles"

Tuttle finished off an old Steve Poltz and Jewel co-write to craft "Million Miles," an inspiring story about lost love that features Jason Isbell on backing vocals and Sierra Hull on mandolin. According to Tuttle, the song is one that Poltz and Jewel started on in the '90s that she recorded and gained the blessing of Jewel to include on her second album When You're Ready.

3. "Big Backyard"

Inspired by the music of Woody Guthrie, Tuttle again teamed up with Ketch Secor to write "Big Backyard," a joyous bluegrass symphony where Tuttle's band Golden Highway joined forces with all of Old Crow Medicine Show for a monumental sound. The upbeat tune fosters a sense of community with its message of inclusiveness and family as the collective join forces to sing "Come on out to the big backyard / It ain't mine it ain't yours it's all of ours."

2. "Take The Journey"

Tuttle's guitar skills shine on "Take The Journey," an epic tale and another co-write with Sarah Siskind that urges the listener to set out in pursuit of their dreams, adventure or whatever it is they seek. The song is a reminder that the biggest obstacle standing in front of you chasing after your dreams is yourself, so no matter where the road starts or ends don't be afraid to "Take the journey / Someday you'll make it back home again."

1. "She'll Change"

Yet another co-write with Ketch Secor, Tuttle sings emphatically about a woman that "Just snaps her little fingers and they all stand in line" on the empowering "She'll Change," the lead track from her Nonesuch Records debut Crooked Tree. The blazing bluegrass number features bluegrass stalwarts like Ron Block, Mike Bub, Jason Carter, Dominick Leslie, Tina Adair and Jerry Douglas, all of whom provide the backing beat as they stand behind the shining star of Tuttle.

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