A virtuosic, award-winning guitarist with a gift for insightful songwriting, Molly Tuttle evolves her signature sound with boundary-breaking songs on her compelling debut album, When You’re Ready. 

Already crowned “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2018 Americana Music Awards on the strength of her EP, Tuttle has broken boundaries and garnered the respect of her peers, winning fans for her incredible flat-picking guitar technique and confessional songwriting. Graced with a clear, true voice and a keen melodic sense, the 25-year-old seems poised for a long and exciting career. When You’re Ready, produced by Ryan Hewitt (The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers) showcases her astonishing range and versatility and shows that she is more than simply an Americana artist.

Since moving to Nashville in 2015, the native Californian has been welcomed into folk music, bluegrass, Americana, and traditional country communities – even as When You’re Ready stretches the boundaries of those genres. Over the past year, Molly has continued to accumulate accolades, winning Folk Alliance International’s honor for Song of the Year for “You Didn’t Call My Name” and taking home her second trophy for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year (the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that honor).

Tuttle grew up in California in a musical family, performing at festivals with her father and two brothers. As a young girl, she took violin lessons but eventually grew more interested in playing guitar. Fortunately her father Jack Tuttle is a noted instructor in the Bay Area.

By the age of 11, Tuttle was attending bluegrass jams and decided that she wanted to do more singing. She took voice lessons from one of her neighbors, a classical vocal coach who taught proper technique without sacrificing phrasing. As a young woman interested in bluegrass, Tuttle admired bold songwriters like Hazel Dickens and looked up to Bay Area bluegrass musicians such as Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick.

As Tuttle matured, her musical tastes soon ranged from Bob Dylan and Gillian Welch to The Smiths and Neko Case. Because she kept seeing Townes Van Zandt referenced to by songwriters she admired, Tuttle dug into his catalog and found “White Freightliner Blues.” Her own exceptional rendition has become a showcase for her nimble playing, as well as a graceful nod to her musical heroes. And the circle continues; her own instructional videos of the song online have been discovered by the next generation of pickers, who look to her as a role model and for inspiration.

After graduating from high school in Palo Alto, Tuttle enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied in the American Roots Music Program, focusing on guitar performance and songwriting. 

You’re headlining Kitchen Garden Café here in Birmingham on April 10th . Are you looking forward to your UK dates?

Yes, I am really excited!! This is the first date of the tour, so it will be a great way to start!

 

Your debut album, When You’re Ready, will be released on April 5th – how would you describe this album for those that haven’t heard it yet?

It’s an album of personal songs that I wrote or co-wrote. It’s a departure from my bluegrass roots but the sound is influenced by other artists I love like Aimee Mann, The National, The Smiths and Neko Case.

 

Some of the tracks definitely have a confessional quality to them. Was it always your intention to write personal songs?

I am drawn to personal songs. With this album I started out with about 30 songs that I had written and my favourite ones of that group were the ones that felt the most true to my experiences and feelings. 

 

Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? What’s your writing process like?

I draw inspiration from books, music, experiences, feelings… all sorts of different sources. I collect ideas on my phone or in a notebook and come back to them when I have time to think and flesh out ideas. Once I have a song I spend a long time editing it until I feel good about the words and music.

 

Growing up in California, you were introduced to a huge range of musical genres and communities. Is there a particular artist or genre that has heavily influenced your music?

I grew up listening to bluegrass and fell in love with Hazel Dickens and Gillian Welch. Other artists who heavily influenced me were Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Smiths, Aimee Mann and Neko Case. I try to stay open to all different kinds of music though and listen to a lot of different styles.

 

I know your dad taught you guitar from an early age – was becoming a musician always a dream of yours? Were you encouraged to play growing up?

I was definitely encouraged to play growing up. When I was around 16 I started seriously thinking about pursuing music.

 

Your incredible flatpicking guitar technique has been highly praised – you even create instructional videos for fans online. Is helping younger people to learn techniques or be inspired important to you?

Yeah, helping younger musicians definitely something that makes me happy. I like teaching people of all ages and I learned a lot about teaching from my dad who is a music teacher.

 

You’re now based in Nashville – has this creative musical hub impacted your new album at all?

Yes, I collaborated with a lot of Nashville musicians on this album. From songwriters who I wrote with to musicians playing on the album, living here definitely impacted the sounds of the new album!

 

Do you hope this recognition encourages other young women to become involved with the Bluegrass scene?

I hope so!

 

At 26, your career is certainly impressive to say the least, and your debut album is an absolute credit to your song-writing abilities. What’s next for you?

I’m touring a lot to promote the album and looking ahead to what music I want to make next! 

 

www.mollytuttlemusic.com

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