Young Pickers of Note, 2019 Edition
January 12, 2019 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Bluegrass guitarists Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle jam out on the Townes Van Zandt classic "White Freightliner Blues."

Billy Strings, recently profiled in Rolling Stone,is a 26-year-old bluegrass guitarist out of Michigan. Whether he's on stage with bluegrass legends like Bryan Sutton or David Grisman , picking solo on a vintage 1935 Martin, or playing some Doc Watson classics fronting his own band, Billy brings high energy and insane fretboard action to each of his 200-plus tour dates a year.

Molly Tuttle, also in her late 20s, hails from California via Berklee music school in Boston - one of the two preeminent bluegrass music conservatories in the country. She started out playing in her family band, and went on to original compositions and bluegrass classics with a range of collaborators. Molly broke a significant glass ceiling in the bluegrass world in 2017, becoming the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association's guitarist of the year award, a feat she repeated in 2018. This last summer, Molly joined Sierra Hull (IBMA mandolin player of the year 2016-2018), Missy Raines (IBMA bass player of the year 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007), Alison Brown (IBMA banjo player of the year 1991), and Becky Buller (IBMA fiddle player of the year 2016) to perform at several festivals as the "First Ladies of Bluegrass."

An audio archive of full Billy Strings shows is available at Relisten.net; both artists are well represented on Youtube as well. Both Billy and Molly have posted 2019 tour dates, and there's no substitute for live music!
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model (16 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Billy Strings?” C’mon. What’s his real name?

(Flagged as fantastic.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:13 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


He was born William Apostol - Billy Strings was a childhood nickname. (Admittedly a bit on the nose.)
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 2:17 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Relevant to my interests. Thanks for this.

There's a really great demonstration by Molly Tuttle ofWhite Freightliner Blues and Rhythm Lead Switching. It uses an ingeniously-mounted phone to capture what's she's doing with her right hand.

Listening to Sierra Hull always knocks me back on my heels (my user name might suggest why):

Daybreak in Dixie

Old Dangerfield...on octave mando no less. This version is way fun - with an alto sax player in the mix.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:26 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Wow, that’s phenomenal.
posted by hwestiii at 2:31 PM on January 12


Mando: I saw Sierra Hull sitting in on mandolin w/ some guys from Yonder Mtn String Band, Leftover Salmon & Elephant Revival a week or two ago. Sometimes watching her my mouth just hangs open and my feet forget to keep tapping. Ho. Ly. Shit.

Here she is trading licks w/ Sam Bush at Grey Fox this last year.

You follow Jacob Jolliff at all? He's another one of those guys who can play faster than I can listen.

Edit: Might go without saying, but every one of these artists deserves a FPP all their own.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 2:41 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


Awesome!
posted by The Toad at 2:49 PM on January 12


I've just discovered Jacken Elswyth.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:11 PM on January 12


Mike Marshall always introduces his octave mandolin as "...from the days when giant mandolins roamed the earth."

Whenever I see one I'm reminded of the Little Britain "tiny man" skit - I try to imagine it's a tiny Sierra Hull playing a regular-sized mandolin.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 4:26 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Molly, daughter of Jack? Wow I'm old.

Jack is the reason I always cut my string ends (or at least coil them if it's during a song or set).
posted by lothar at 4:42 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Check Billy’s tourdates this year and see him if you can - he’s on fire right now and his band is right there with him taboot.
posted by stinkfoot at 5:14 PM on January 12


There's a really great demonstration by Molly Tuttle ofWhite Freightliner Blues and Rhythm Lead Switching . It uses an ingeniously-mounted phone to capture what's she's doing with her right hand.


Oh yeah, that's Troy Grady's thing. I believe he invented it. It's interesting to see him branching out - he started by analyzing the technique of metal/progressive/shredder electric players.
posted by thelonius at 6:25 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, that's Troy Grady's thing. I believe he invented it.

It's nifty! One of the problems with the plethora of great instructional stuff on Youtube is getting the right angle for right-hand stuff (or vice-versa if you're a lefty) so it comes across clearly. This solves that problem.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:31 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I've taken guitar seminars from Molly Tuttle, and a week long session at the California Bluegrass Association Music Camp. She's an excellent instructor, as well as a seemingly effortless player. (The effort it takes to play that beautifully is challenging.)

It makes me very happy to see the new hot players in bluegrass. Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle are part of a wave of awesomeness.
posted by blob at 7:02 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I saw Billy last summer. He's more than great.
posted by james33 at 5:35 AM on January 13


I've been watching Molly for months now. She's amazing. Great to see her here.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:43 AM on January 13


Great post - excited to watch all of the links. Saw Billy Strings and Sierra Hull at Grey Fox last summer - both were fantastic!

Starts checking Grey Fox site for 2019 lineup.
posted by jilloftrades at 5:31 AM on January 15


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