Tuttle, Molly & Golden Highway / Crooked Tree
Album: Crooked Tree   Collection:Country
Artist:Tuttle, Molly & Golden Highway   Added:Feb 2023
Label:Nonesuch Records  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2023-03-10 Pull Date: 2023-05-12 Charts: Country/Bluegrass
Week Ending: May 14 May 7 Apr 30 Apr 23 Apr 16 Apr 9 Apr 2 Mar 26
Airplays: 1 3 4 2 2 2 3 2

Recent Airplay
1. Jul 24, 2024: That's not Bluegrass
Dooley's Farm
4. May 11, 2024: Everything
Crooked Tree
2. Jun 12, 2024: That's not Bluegrass
Grass Valley
5. Mar 05, 2024: Traditions - Women in folk & country
Grass Valley
3. May 15, 2024: That's not Bluegrass
Crooked Tree
6. Feb 28, 2024: That's not Bluegrass
Grass Valley

Album Review
Trish McBee
Reviewed 2023-02-17
Molly Tuttle
Crooked Tree

Trish McBee
Reviewed 2/16/2023
FCCs: None
IYL: Sierra Hull, Sarah Jarocz, Alison Krauss, Margo Price, Gillian Welch, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Billy Strings

Crooked Tree is the third studio album by American bluegrass singer and musician Molly Tuttle. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2023. It’s practically a bluegrass festival on a single album. It features her band the Golden Highway and contributions from Sierra Hall, Old Crow Medicine Show, Margo Price, Billy Strings, Dan Tyminski, and Gillian Welch. It’s an upbeat, melodic set full of phenomenal picking. The fast-paced tracks outnumber the slower stuff, but everything is interspersed in a way that makes the record a breezy listen. There is a lot to like here for bluegrass fans, and the presence of the multitude of guest stars should be an effective way for Tuttle to broaden her audience.

My favorite tracks: 3, 1, 5, 10, 13

1.***She'll Change 02:41
Opens with Tuttle and banjo player Kyle Tuttle picking at full speed while the mandolin and bass hold down the rhythm. Tuttle sings admiringly about a woman who takes life as it comes and never stays in one place for long.

2. Flatland Girl (feat. Margo Price) 02:35
Tuttle reminisces about her grandfather’s farm in Illinois and the crumbling of the small-time farms that once dotted the landscape of the state. Price, an Illinois native, provides close, warm harmonies in the song.

3.****Dooley's Farm (feat. Billy Strings) 03:41
A fierce minor-key track about a mild-mannered farmer who sells amazing homegrown marijuana under the table. Tuttle and Strings harmonize exceedingly well and the dark vibe of the song sets it apart on this mostly upbeat album.

4.Big Backyard (feat. Old Crow Medicine Show) 03:17

Rollicking slice of country-folk. Harmonica, drums, and thick group harmonies all show up as the song goes along. The sentiment of the track that everyone shares the same “big backyard” (the Earth itself) is pure 1970s eco-cheese, but the presence of Old Crow Medicine Show and their “everyone is invited to our party” attitude makes it work.

5.***Crooked Tree 03:52
mid-tempo song that tells the story of a forest getting cut down, with the timber headed for the mill.

6.**Castilleja 03:16
Treads the line between minor-key bluegrass and cowboy folk. Tuttle sings from the perspective of a person expressing love for the aloof woman Castilleja.

7.The River Knows 03:33
Tells a story of infatuation gone wrong. The instrumentation on this track is sparse and haunting, while Tuttle sings about a childhood friendship that soured.

8.**Over The Line 03:01
Fantastic liquid mandolin touches courtesy of Sierra Hull

9.**Nashville Mess Around 02:32
Scurries and darts around a sawdust floor in a good old-fashioned hoedown, replete with Tuttle’s yodeling on the last line of each refrain. The song gives every musician a chance to stretch out. The song pokes fun, too, at the Nashville tourists who flock to Music City ready to party without giving a thought to the rich musical heritage of the city.

10.****San Francisco Blues (feat. Dan Tyminski) 04:04
A waltzing ballad that essentially laments how the entire Bay Area has priced out even its longtime residents.

11.Goodbye Girl 03:21
Upbeat, follows the standard bluegrass blueprint of letting each instrument solo for a short while before returning to the chorus, the percussion-free sound is so freewheeling and fresh that it’s impossible not to be charmed by how this ensemble syncs together.

12.Side Saddle (feat. Gillian Welch) 02:44
A mid-20th-century style cowboy song. It’s a wide-eyed story of a young cowgirl showing up the boys at the rodeo and proving she has the skills to beat them at their own game. The duet harmonies are sweet and inviting and the song is silly but fun.

13.****Grass Valley 03:50
Tuttle recounts the autobiographical story of her first trip to Grass Valley, California, for its annual bluegrass festival. Over a bed of shimmering strings and slow guitar chords, she talks about the four-hour drive with her dad and being “ten years old and happy / Out of school a week early.” The music picks up into a gently loping bluegrass song as she arrives at the festival, happily bopping along.

Track Listing
1. She'll Change   7. The River Knows
2. Flatland Girl   8. Over The Line
3. Dooley's Farm   9. Nashville Mess Around
4. Big Backyard   10. San Francisco Blues
5. Crooked Tree   11. Goodbye Girl
6. Castilleja   12. Side Saddle
  13. Grass Valley