Bluegrass Guitarist Molly Tuttle Covers The National's 'Fake Empire' — with Bonus Music Video — for New Album

“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."

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge Molly Tuttle - Photo: Compass Records
Photo: Compass Records
Molly Tuttle

Bluegrass guitarist Molly Tuttle has a new album slated for release on Aug. 28:  …but i’d rather be with you. 

The collection of 10 eclectic covers, recorded in Nashville during quarantine, includes her version of The National's "Fake Empire," along with "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones, "Mirrored Heart" by FKA Twigs, "Olympia, WA" by Rancid, "Standing on the Moon" by the Grateful Dead, "Sunflower, Vol. 6" by Harry Styles and several other unique selections.

“I am a huge fan of The National,” Tuttle says. “Boxer is probably my favorite album by them. ('Fake Empire') 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.”

Tuttle also crafted a music video to be released in concert with the single, which focuses on the concept of activism and indifference in modern society.

“We created the 'Fake Empire' video by projecting footage of activism in mid-20th-century America onto me while I played the song,” Tuttle says. “We contrasted that footage with forest fires, stars and dreamlike images. We wanted to leave the meaning of the video somewhat up to interpretation, just like the lyrics of the song.

"Matt Berninger commented that the song is about ‘where you can’t deal with the reality of what’s really going on, so let’s just pretend that the world’s full of bluebirds and ice skating.’ Right now a lot of people in our country are waking up to the realities of police brutality, racism, and bigotry all around us. I hope that people, like myself, who have the privilege to turn a blind eye to these injustices, can maintain this awareness and action to create a better society.”

A release from Compass Records about …but i’d rather be with you says Tuttle learned how to use Pro Tools and recorded and engineered her parts of the album at home before sending them to Los Angeles to producer Tony Berg, who has worked with Phoebe Bridgers and Andrew Bird. Berg then grabbed session musicians to record instrumentation in their own homes, including vocalist Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes. 

“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."

Pre-order the album at store.compassrecords.com.

Scroll to read more Local Music articles

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.