Preview: Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway Road to El Dorado Tour with Cristina Vane

Prepare for a musical journey down the rabbit hole when Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway bring their cosmic string band sound to the Commonwealth Room on Thursday, October 19, 2023. 

As one of the most exciting new roots artists, Molly Tuttle blends old-school Kentucky bluegrass with some fresh cut California grass to create a modern hybrid sound that pleases the hill-country purist and the coastal string band jam fan. Tuttle’s 2022 album Crooked Tree earned her a Grammy for best bluegrass album. In July, she released another innovative full-length record, City of Gold, that is soaring in the Americana charts. On “Alice in the Bluegrass,” she reimagines the Lewis Carroll story in a Kentucky setting. Tuttle just released an amazing companion single, a newgrass version of Jefferson Airplane’s classic “White Rabbit” with the same psychedelic core, but with an acoustic string arrangement. Check out a cool video of the song here

Early bluegrass music featured themes of a hardscrabble life in Appalachia and its underground economy—moonshine. Tuttle’s modern take on the genre replaces the “shine” with “weed” as the region’s illicit cash crop. On “Dooley’s Farm,” from Crooked Tree, she sings “they used to grow tobacco/ then they made moonshine/ but there’s something better in the back of the barn/ down on Dooley’s farm.” 

On City of Gold, Tuttle takes the story west to California with a gold rush themed “El Dorado.” On “San Joaquin” she gets your toes tapping with a driving fiddle and banjo, and a catchy lyric: “Riding the San Joaquin/bringing in some Humboldt green.” She travels to “Yosemite” where she trades sweet harmonies with Dave Matthews for a majestic duet. She advocates for Southern states to catch up with the legal weed trend on the light hearted foot-stomper “Down Home Dispensary.”   

Photo courtesy of Molly Tuttle

Tuttle, a Berklee College of Music alum, and flatpicking guitar master has assembled a band of bluegrass virtuosos featuring Bronwyn Keith-Hynes on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Kyle Tuttle (no relation) on banjo and Shelby Means on bass. Tuttle recruited Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show to co-write the songs for the new record. The end result is a Western bluegrass sound that stretches the sonic limits of the genre giving it a fresh, new relevance while maintaining its original structure. Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway are making bluegrass trippy and fun for a new generation of fans.

Fun fact: Tuttle is the first woman to be named Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Opening is country-blues singer Cristina Vane. Born and raised in Europe, Vane came to the US to complete a degree in comparative literature at Princeton before moving to California to explore a music career. A rocker at heart, she found inspiration from the songwriting style of blues masters like Skip James and Robert Johnson. Fingerpicking and slide guitar, along with her growing interest in clawhammer banjo drove her toward old-time Americana and bluegrass beckoned her to Nashville. Her two latest full-length albums for Red Parlor Records have a country-blues flavor with a dash of rock ‘n’ roll. Her song “Prayer For The Blind” includes hints of a Fiona Apple vibe, with a twist of Appalachian flair. “Make Myself Me Again” adds a bit of twang and upbeat fingerpicking. Vane is an emerging roots artist with a powerful voice who will undoubtedly make an impact on the genre.

This is a must see show for fans of Billy Strings, Sierra Ferrell, Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Pixie and the Partygrass Boys, Margo Price, Old Crow Medicine Show, or The Grateful Dead.

Our friends at KRCL are presenting this Salt Lake City concert.

Who: Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway w/ Cristina Vane

What: Road to El Dorado Tour

Where: The Commonwealth Room

When: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Tickets and info:

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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