Album Review: Molly Tuttle, ‘…but i’d rather be with you’

It’s a match made in heaven: Molly Tuttle’s inventive, virtuoso guitar playing and her soaring vocals meet some of her favorite songs on …but i’d rather be with you (Compass Records.) She says found solace during the days following the March 2020 tornado in Nashville and in the midst of the pandemic by revisiting these songs to “remind myself why I love music.” Tuttle recorded and engineered her parts of the songs and then sent them to producer Tony Berg in LA, and he called in the services of drummer Matt Chamberlain, keyboardist Patrick Warren, bassist Gabe Noel, and pedal steel player Rich Hinman, among others, to add their parts in their home studios. The result is a small masterpiece that allows Tuttle to stretch out, to explore various musical directions, and to dwell in these songs and make them her own.

The album opens with Tuttle’s take on The National’s “Fake Empire”; with her finger-picked guitar circling round and round Warren’s reverberating piano, her atmospheric version spirals into the ethereal. Her joyous take on “She’s a Rainbow” features Tuttle’s crystalline leads on the song’s instrumental bridge; there’s a moment on the second, and closing, instrumental bridge on which Tuttle, Warren, and Hinman capture the shimmering beauty of the ways that individual droplets of water fall together in sunlight to create a rainbow. The song ends as it begins, with Tuttle’s sparkling, effervescent lead runs. The quiet beauty of the version of Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost” washes over us with its gently flowing confluence of musical forces; Tuttle’s vocals on the refrain channel Joni Mitchell’s transcendent vocals. Tuttle’s vocals and musical genius are made for a song such as Karen Dalton’s poignant “Something on Your Mind,” and Tuttle turns this one into her own ballad of grace and emotional gravity. Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor lends his vocals to the urgent punk rocker “Olympia, WA,” which rides along Noel’s propulsive bass and Tuttle’s swirling lead runs, while Tuttle’s take on the Grateful Dead’s “Standing on the Moon”—from which Tuttle’s album takes its title—captures the Dead’s intricate stylistic flair, as well as the Dead’s hypnotic and transporting rhythms.

…but i’d rather be with you
illustrates Molly Tuttle’s exceptional musical intuition and creativity
and her ability to know exactly how to bring out the essence of a song. She dwells in these song deeply, making them her own, showing us why we should be listening to Molly Tuttle’s entrancing playing and singing as much as we can.

…but i’d rather be with you is available now – HERE.

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