Here’s Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway

Oftentimes artists will say they’re glad to be at a place. But Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway were clearly delighted to be making their debut at The Birchmere in Alexandra, Va., in between some festival gigs.

This, after all, was a hallowed ground for Mid-Atlantic bluegrass, where generations of stars have performed over the storied club’s half century and local bluegrass superstars the Seldom Scene established an early residency and has been associated with the place ever since.

Tuttle likely knew The Birchmere name as a child, listening to records and learning flat picking, cross picking and clawhammer guitar styles from her music teaching father. Those lessons were successful enough to have her become the first woman win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s guitar player of the year award five years ago — which she went on to win or a second consecutive year.

Still in her 20s, Tuttle wasn’t yet married to bluegrass traditions. She played in other people’s bands; and wrote, sang and recorded her own original songs (as well as playing covers of others). The first time she headlined at The Birchmere, a year ago, she played solo, doing a lot of that material.

But her return to bluegrass fold with a new album and band this year with a similarly accomplished young band made The Birchmere premiere of Tuttle and Golden Highway a special high point — for her and the audience.

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