Molly Tuttle Would “Rather Be With You” at The Egg on Thursday, September 16th
It was hours after it was announced that she’d won the International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year Award that it first donned on Molly Tuttle.
She was the first female to win the award!
But breaking precedent is nothing new for this 28-year-old guitar wiz. After all, she’s a feminist who promises to cover “She’s A Rainbow” at her solo concert at The Egg on Thursday. This classic psychedelic era Rolling Stones chestnut is by one of the most misogynistic rock bands in history. No, Molly Tuttle is not your average bluegrass picker.
As for the Guitar Player Award, she says, “I didn’t realize I was the first woman to ever be nominated until later that day. I mean a lot of times when I’ve been in musical spaces, I’ve been the only woman. When I was studying at Berkeley, I was the only woman in my class, and a lot of time at jam sessions in band sessions I’m the only woman. So, I think it was just thrilling for me when I realized I’m the only one.”
As for the Stones cover, she recorded for her most recent album But I’d Rather Be with You on Compass Records: “Anytime I hear a song where I felt I can put a different meaning to it or add my own voice to it is exciting to me. So, that one in particular I like. I thought it would be cool to hear it from a female perspective in a way. When I first heard that song, I wanted to interpret it like a celebration of different multitudes of femininity and kind of celebrating womanhood as a whole. So, I wanted to make the video really inclusive of all genders and all kinds of people sharing their views on feminism and the importance of equity and equality.”
On the album, she covers everything from The Grateful Dead’s “Standing on the Moon” to Cat Stevens’ “How Can I Tell You, from Harry Styles’ “Sunflower, Vol. 6” to Arthur Russell’s pained “A Little Lost.”
But I’d Rather Be with You is a product of the pandemic. “I did need to take a break from the road. It was under really, really sad circumstances, but I was able to take a pause and refocus my creativity and realize that I’ve really been wearing myself out with the amount of touring I’d been doing.
“I don’t know, but for me, I can just speak for myself and I think it was really a creative time. It was actually just kind of refreshing in the studio. It feels like that’s a lot of pressure, like people listening. So, it was nice that I didn’t feel time pressure on each take. That to me was kind of a nice change to loosen up a bit.”
The daughter of a music teacher father from Illinois and a mother from Palo Alto who’s a Grateful Dead fan, Molly has been into music from the times as a young child when dad would take her to concerts and taught her guitar chords.
She’s also a feminist.
“The music always comes first. So, I don’t think of feminism when I’m making music really, but I think it’s important to be outspoken about it. I want to be a musician. But as a female player, I feel I do bring a different voice to the instrument, and I think the more women who play guitar and the more people of all genders and all backgrounds who play the instrument like you’re going to get so many unique voices on it. So, I think that guitarists are so male dominated I feel like we’ve kind of missed out on hearing their different voices on the instrument.
“There shouldn’t be a barrier of entry for women. The greater spaces sometimes can feel intimidating even like going into a music store can just feel like it’s not a welcoming place, and people automatically assume you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at The Egg at Empire Center, Albany. Richard Stearns and Aaron Lipp are special guests. Tickets are available at The Egg Box Office at the Empire State Plaza, by telephone at 518-473-1845 or online at www.theegg.org