Crooked Tree from Molly Tuttle

Nonesuch Records has released a new single from their upcoming album with Molly Tuttle, the title track, Crooked Tree.

Bluegrass lovers are excited about the music from this new project, as it marks the celebrated guitarist and singer’s return to bluegrass following several recordings in an Americana/pop vein.

Like many others in the blugrass world, we watched Molly develop as a player, vocalist, and songwriter while still a teenager performing with her family band in northern California. When she first caught our attention she was a banjo picker, but soon found her home on guitar. She attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and moved to Nashville upon graduation. The first album she made post college was largely bluegrass, and she toured initially with a bluegrass band, but subsequent records found her moving in a different direction.

But Tuttle says she never intended to leave the bluegrass behind.

“I always knew I wanted to make a bluegrass record someday. Once I started writing, everything flowed so easily: sometimes I’ve felt an internal pressure to come up with a sound no one’s heard before, but this time my intention was just to make an album that reflected the music that’s been passed down through generations in my family. I found a way to do that while writing songs that feel true to who I am, and it really helped me to grow as a songwriter.”

In a further nod to to the ways of the grass, the Crooked Tree album is credited as a band project, from Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway. Supporting her in the group are Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes on fiddle, Kyle Tuttle on banjo, and Shelby Means on bass. 

Other contributors on the record include Molly’s co-producer Jerry Douglas on reso-guitar; Sierra Hull on mandolin; Ron Block on banjo; Jason Carter, Darol Anger, and Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle; and Mike Bub, Todd Phillips, and Viktor Krauss on bass. Tina Adair, Lindsay Lou, and Melody Walker all shared in the harmony vocals.

The single for Crooked Tree is out today, and the touring version of Golden Highway has put together a live-in-the-studio music video of the song. It’s a clever one about how a crooked tree will be left behind by mechanized logging as it won’t fit in the milling machine, using that as a metaphor for not trying to be like everyone else.

The full Crooked Tree album is expected on April 1. Pre-orders for either the LP or CD from Molly’s web site will include a signed post card.

An extensive tour starts tonight in Seattle with stops all across the US through spring. See all those details online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.