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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Grammy Winner Molly Tuttle & Her Band, Golden Highway, Set To Release Their New Album 'City of Gold'


By Stevie Connor.



One of the most compelling new voices in the roots music world, Molly Tuttle is a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter with a lifelong love of bluegrass, a genre the Northern California-bred artist first discovered thanks to her father (a music teacher and multi-instrumentalist) and grandfather (a banjo player whose Illinois farm she visited often throughout her childhood). Molly Tuttle and her band, Golden Highway, will release their new album, City of Gold, July 21, via Nonesuch Records.


City of Gold follows Tuttle’s acclaimed 2022 record, Crooked Tree, which won Best Bluegrass Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards and led NPR Music to call her “a female flat picker extraordinaire with agility, speed and elegance who distinctively brings American roots music into the spotlight,” adding that the album “marries the improvisatory solos of traditional bluegrass with singer-songwriter sophistication.”


Produced by Tuttle and Jerry Douglas and recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, City of Gold was inspired by Tuttle’s constant touring with Golden Highway these past few years, during which they have grown together as musicians and performers, cohering as a band. These 13 tracks—mostly written by Tuttle and Ketch Secor (Old Crow Medicine Show)—capture the electric energy of band’s live shows by highlighting each member's musical strengths. In addition to Tuttle and Secor, Mason Via also co-wrote “Down Home Dispensary,” while Melody Walker and Shelby Means co-wrote “Next Rodeo.”


Reflecting on the project, Tuttle shares, “When I was a kid, we took a field trip to Caloma, CA to learn about the gold rush. I’ll never forget the dusty hills and the grizzled old miner who showed us the nugget around his neck. Just like gold fever, music has always captivated me, captured my heart, and driven me to great lengths to explore its depths. On my new album I dug deep as a songwriter (with Ketch Secor) and co-producer (with Jerry Douglas) and surfaced with a record that celebrates the music of my heart, my life, the land where I grew up, and the stories I heard along the way. I made this record with my band Golden Highway after playing over 100 shows across the country last year. On the road and in the studio, we are inspired by artists such as John Hartford, Gillian Welch and Peter Rowan to name a few, whose records are like family albums to us. Just like them, on this album we chart some new territory along some old familiar ground. The songs span from breakdowns to ballads, fairytales and fiddle tunes, from Yosemite up to the Gold Country and out beyond the mountains. That visit to Coloma, site of California’s first gold strike is where I first heard about El Dorado, the city of gold. Playing music can take you to a place that is just as precious. I hope you like this record!”


In addition to Tuttle (vocals, acoustic guitar), Douglas (dobro) and Golden Highway—Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle, harmony vocals), Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Shelby Means (bass, harmony vocals) and Kyle Tuttle (banjo, harmony vocals)—City of Gold also features special guest Dave Matthews on “Yosemite.”


In celebration of the new music, Tuttle and Golden Highway will tour through this summer including headline shows at Oklahoma City’s Beer City Music Hall, Virginia Beach’s Elevation 27, Cleveland’s Blossom Music Center and St. Louis’ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre as well as select dates with Shane Smith & The Saints, Dierks Bentley, Charley Crockett and Marcus King. The band will also make festival appearances this year at New Orleans Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Railbird Music Festival, DelFest and more.


Raised in Northern California, Tuttle moved to Nashville in 2015. In the years since, she’s been nominated for Best New Artist at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, won Album of the Year at the 2023 International Folk Music Awards, Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2022 International Bluegrass Music Awards, Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Music Awards and Guitar Player of the Year at the IBMAs in both 2017 and 2018, the first woman to receive the honor. Tuttle has performed around the world, including shows with Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show and Dwight Yoakam as well as at several major festivals including Newport Folk Festival and Pilgrimage.


On her last album Crooked Tree, Tuttle joyfully explored that rich history with bluegrass, bringing her imagination to tales of free spirits and outlaws, weed farmers and cowgirls resulting in a record that is both forward-thinking and steeped in bluegrass heritage.

“I always knew I wanted to make a bluegrass record someday,” says the Nashville-based Tuttle, who began attending bluegrass jams at age eleven. “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.”

Her debut release for Nonesuch Records, Crooked Tree was co-produced by Tuttle and bluegrass legend Jerry Douglas (who also plays Dobro throughout the album); her studio band also includes esteemed musicians like Ron Block (banjo, guitar, harmony vocals), Mike Bub (upright bass), Jason Carter (fiddle), Tina Adair (harmony vocals), and Dominick Leslie,a mandolinist who also performs in Tuttle’s live band, Golden Highway, along with banjo player Kyle Tuttle, fiddle player Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, and bassist Shelby Means. The album featured such illustrious guests as Gillian Welch, Margo Price, Billy Strings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dan Tyminski, and Sierra Hull.


Crooked Tree marked a departure from the eclecticism of Tuttle’s critically lauded 2019 full-length debut When You’re Ready and 2020’s ...but i’d rather be with you (a covers album that masterfully reinterprets everyone from FKA Twigs to Karen Dalton). Each track showcases Tuttle’s guitar technique, for which she was the first women ever named Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, as well as her voice — an instrument that shifts from warmly understated to fiercely soulful with equal parts precision and abandon, occasionally treating the listener to some high-spirited yodeling.




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