...but i’d rather be with you (Compass)
I never thought I’d write a review with Molly Tuttle and Rancid in the same paragraph. Or Tuttle and FKA, or Twiggs, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or the Rolling Stones. But I can’t help it—Tuttle’s new album covers all of these skate punkers, emo pop stars, and rockers.
Tuttle, with her stunning flatpicking, huge vocal range, and songwriting, has played a major role in the current evolution of bluegrass. But there’s no ’grass here. During the early days of the pandemic, Tuttle decided to record at home in Nashville a bunch of tunes that affected her as she grew up, sent the WAV files to her producer in Los Angeles, who recruited some top studio musicians to finish them with a very electric sound.
The result is a winner that should expose her to a wider audience. This dive into pop music isn’t a total surprise as Tuttle’s last album of originals had a strong element of pop. It’s also not a surprise that she has chosen 10 well-written songs, and they sound even better in her hands. She shows technical and emotional vocal range more than I’ve heard before. And guitar nerds needn’t worry: her fiery acoustic chops are ever-present.
With the help of a video, she makes the 50-year-old Stones song She Comes In Colors into a feminist anthem. Her duet with Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show on Rancid’s Oympia, WA, sounds like they’ve been singing together for decades, and her guitar solo is breathtaking. Her version of the Grateful Dead’s Standing on the Moon would get the thumbs-up from Jerry Garcia.
This versatility shows that the sky’s the limit for this 27-year-old. I can’t wait to see where she goes to next.