Best Reminder to Bake Right with Hot Rise: Molly Tuttle, Rise

On the surface, it feels like 2017 was Molly Tuttle’s breakout year. In a matter of months, she went from releasing her debut LP, Rise, to winning the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award — becoming the first woman in the organization’s history to ever receive the honor. But her poetic, evocative lyrics and her confident, firecracker flatpicking are unmistakable markers of what really has been a life-long career. The firm foundation laid by growing up in bluegrass, performing and touring from a young age, shines through each and every track on the record, assuaging the fears of would-be naysayers who could find the occurrences of lap steel, full drum kit, or electric guitar to be bluegrass disqualifiers. Her haunting vocals, at once ethereal and authoritative, are utterly confident, each artistic choice precise without falling into measured sterility. The distinct voice of Rise — whether emanating from Tuttle’s lips or her pick and strings — isn’t first-timer’s luck; it’s the product of a lifetime of work and expertly honed talent that is simply, at long last, reaching the ears of a broader audience. And, where other burgeoning artists may falter in their first few projects, attempting to pinpoint the perfect vehicle for their artistic personalities, we can sense, feel, and hear that no matter which stylistic direction she may take in the future, we will all be watching Molly Tuttle rise, unencumbered and unwavering. — JH

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