Molly Tuttle has released her cover of Grateful Dead’s “Standing On The Moon.” The new song, which features Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes on background vocals, is joined by a hypnotizing companion visual and will appear on Tuttle’s forthcoming record, … but i’d rather be with you, available everywhere Friday, August 28 via Compass Records.
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“I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of Grateful Dead music,” says Tuttle, “but being raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Dead was part of the mythology of my family and the area I grew up in (kind of how I imagine people who grew up in Tennessee where I live now might feel about Dolly Parton). Our specific family lore was that Jerry Garcia had gone to my high school (Palo Alto High) and my mom’s older sister, my Aunt Titia, knew them and used to take guitar lessons from Bob Weir in Menlo Park. That’s a roundabout way of explaining that this song means so much to me because it brings me back to my roots. Even though I love Nashville, sometimes I do feel like I’m standing on the moon wishing I were with my friends and family in San Francisco. The line, ‘A lovely view of heaven, but I’d rather be with you’ is my favorite and it’s why I named the album … but I’d rather be with you. Life is messy and imperfect but I’d rather be here in it with all of you!”
“One of the greatest feats as a musician, in my opinion, is taking a Grateful Dead song and creating a version of it that goes beyond the stigmatized identity of a ‘Dead Cover,’” says Goldsmith. “It’s hard to do and takes a lot of courage to make it happen. But Molly reached for that brass ring and then somehow even went beyond it. Her version has given the song new parameters, makes me feel new things, and surpasses any sort of referential quality and becomes Molly’s own song. I’m just happy I got to be one small part of bringing it to life.”
…but i’d rather be with you is a collection of 10 striking cover songs recorded during quarantine and produced with the help of Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird). In March 2020, the Nashville-based Tuttle experienced the devastating tornado that tore through much of East Nashville, followed by the global pandemic. While sheltering at home, she found solace by revisiting favorite songs in an attempt to “remind myself why I love music.” An idea for an album emerged, to be recorded with Los Angeles-based Berg despite being over two thousand miles apart.
Tuttle taught herself how to use Pro Tools and then recorded and engineered all of her parts alone at home before sending them to Berg. The renowned producer enlisted a number of legendary session musicians – including drummer Matt Chamberlain and keyboardist Patrick Warren – to add instrumentation from their respective home studios, with guest vocals contributed by Goldsmith as well as Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor. “This is how the astronauts do it!” Tuttle recalls Berg saying as they sent the files back and forth.
The result is a surprising and inventive collection of songs that cross the musical spectrum and the decades, from iconic artists spanning FKA Twigs to Cat Stevens, Rancid to Karen Dalton, all united by Tuttle’s clear, true voice, astonishing range, and incredible musicianship. With its remarkable scope and adventurous creativity, …but i’d rather be with you presents a further progression of Tuttle’s distinctive talent and musical ambition while hinting towards what is yet to come.
…but i’d rather be with you was heralded by her timely version of The National’s epic song “Fake Empire.” Tuttle made a compelling companion video that fiercely challenges the song’s fear of indifference and portrays a society that can no longer afford to be apathetic to the realities of our time. Both are available today.
“I am a huge fan of The National,” Tuttle says. “BOXER is probably my favorite album by them. This song has a super cool four-over-three polyrhythm throughout. The piano part is super fun on guitar if you can train your thumb to play in three and your index and middle fingers to play in four!”
“I have been working on writing for another original album and am still planning to record that this year,” Tuttle says, “but in the meantime I wanted to share these covers that have lifted my spirits, in hopes that you’ll find some much-needed joy as well.”