Bluegrass picker and songwriter extraordinaire Molly Tuttle, who was already poised for a big year following two Grammy nominations, kicked off 2023 with her late-night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Friday night, Tuttle and her four-piece band Golden Highway performed the titular tune from Crooked Tree.
The appearance on Kimmel’s Los Angeles-based program was a kind of homecoming for Tuttle, who was born in the Bay Area and cut her teeth in the Golden State’s bluegrass scene before attending Berklee College of Music. Since moving to Nashville in 2015, she’s set her own bar for excellence in the bluegrass world. In 2017 and 2018, she won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award, marking the first time a woman had even been nominated since the award’s inception in 1990.
2022’s full-length Crooked Tree was recorded in Nashville and shows Tuttle’s mastery as both a player and a songwriter, marrying her typically excellent picking and singing with a timely lyrical theme of self identity and assuredness in a chaotic, conflict-ridden world. On Kimmel, Tuttle & Co. sang the title track in shimmering harmony: “I took the road less traveled / Twists and turns along the way / But like the crooked tree / I'm growing stronger day by day.”
Tuttle is nominated for Best New Artist at the upcoming Grammy Awards, and Crooked Tree is nominated for Best Bluegrass Album. (The album also picked up a Scene Best of Nashville award for good measure.) The award show will air Feb. 5 on CBS. In the meantime, you can keep up on Instagram and Twitter and check out the recent deluxe release of Crooked Tree, which features two live cuts recorded at the Station Inn and an in-studio cover of Grateful Dead’s “Dire Wolf.”