molly tuttle

Billy Gibbons and Keith Urban at BMI’s Troubador Awards ceremony on Monday night.

Guitarists Keith Urban, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Chris Isaak, Robert Earl Keen, Elle King, Tom Bukovac, and Guthrie Trapp performed in honor of the Rev. BFG in Nashville on Monday night, as his body of work was recognized.

NASHVILLE, TN — From 1967, when he founded Texas psychedelic rock band the Moving Sidewalks, to 2023—a span that includes 15 ZZ Top studio albums and three solo recordings—Billy Gibbons has written songs as indelible as the dirty tones of his revered 1959 Gibson Les Paul, Pearly Gates. Those songs, including “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “La Grange,” “Tush,” “It’s Only Love,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” nearly every cut on 1983’s Eliminator album, and many more, earned Gibbons BMI’s prestigious Troubadour Award in a ceremony at the performing rights organization’s Music City headquarters on Monday night.

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Following her debut recording at age 13, Molly Tuttle has amassed a fan base primarily in bluegrass, but her education and other musical interests also inform her virtuosic American-roots-based playing style. Photo by Kaitlyn Raitz

From her family band to Nashville’s epicenter, the guitarist has blazed a trail with sizzling clawhammer and crosspicking technique, and high ’n’ lonesome singing.

There is renewed interest in roots music among young musicians, with artists like the Punch Brothers, the Milk Carton Kids, and Sarah Jarosz drawing liberally from bluegrass, country, and folk influences. Among the most brilliant guitarists in this new generation is Molly Tuttle, who seems as effortlessly conversant when flatpicking as when playing in the clawhammer style, and who is equally gifted as a singer-songwriter.

At 24, Tuttle has already found her own voice on the guitar, and this was perhaps inevitable. Tuttle picked up the guitar at age 8, wanting to emulate her multi-instrumentalist father, Jack Tuttle, a fixture then and now on the Northern California acoustic music scene. She devoured bluegrass and Western swing standards with her brothers, Sullivan and Michael Tuttle, and the siblings, under the direction of the elder Tuttle, performed and recorded as the Tuttles.

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