Molly Tuttle: Rise

review tuttle x1 cong

First the predictable joke: the opener is Good Enough but this mini-album is more than good enough. It’s marvellous.

Though she plays bluegrass it doesn’t, on the surface, sound it. Bluegrass, the genre of American roots music that emerged from Appalachia but is shaped by Irish, Scottish and English traditional music, is often typified by fast playing and lots of banjo and fiddle solos on alternating instruments. It’s the sound to which folks in overalls could dance after a day tilling the soil.

Tuttle’s music does not sound like dance, and the fiddle and banjo are not immediately apparent. There are no breakdowns and it’s wistful and charming, if not melancholic. What she does is write a good tune and play fearsomely well, often playing her acoustic guitar in the bluegrass clawhammer style, notably in Friend And A Friend. Other songs are slower and, in isolation, would be hard to have the bluegrass label pinned on them.

The lyrics are not quite as adroit as the guitar playing, mainly love songs that are in the abstract, though coherent and sensible.

Closer Walden (Walden, or Life in the Wood, a book by Henry D Thoreau about living with nature) is about global warming.

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