The Tuttles

Wherever The Tuttles play, the audiences want to know “How did this musical talent come to be?” Here is the short (ish) story....

The Tuttles tradition with music really began with Jack's father, Gerald Tuttle, a farmer in Illinois. Gerald played guitar and bluegrass banjo, and evenings on the farm were filled with guitar, banjo and singing. Growing up in the 1960's and 70's, Jack learned to play guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin, while also helping with farm chores. In summers, Jack tagged along with his parents and sister to bluegrass festivals throughout the mid-west and south. They also started playing around Illinois just for fun as the Tuttle Family Band.

After college, Jack somehow found himself in California as a full-time bluegrass teacher at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Teaching his own kids (Molly, Sullivan and Michael) to play music was just a natural thing to do, but there was certainly no expectation of anything beyond just having fun with it. As his kids progressed, they started playing publicly, quickly developing a following around their home town of Palo Alto, California. In 2006, trying to figure out how to upload a video to the relatively new online video company, YouTube, Jack talked his kids into playing a tune, El Cumbanchero, sitting on the living room couch. Within a few weeks, the video became a viral sensation, garnering attention from all around the world, as viewers were amazed by their combination of youth and high-speed picking skills. Even CNN picked up on the video and played it on air.

Eventually the kids started playing publicly more and more, as their skills rapidly improved. In 2008, they teamed up frequently with the young singing sensation AJ Lee, and performed as The Tuttles with AJ Lee, releasing two CDs. At that point, due in part to their continued popularity on YouTube, they signed with music agency Roe Entertainment from Tennessee and began flying around the US and Canada playing bluegrass festivals. Occasionally they would perform just as “The Tuttles” and occasionally they would play with a guest player, such a fiddlers Brittany Haas or John Mailander.

With Molly moving to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music in 2012, the band performed less often, but the musicianship continued to develop separately. Molly's songwriting became a more important part of her own shows, Sullivan and Jack began writing songs together, developing a forum for Sullivan's contemporary singing style, while Michael continued developing his already prodigious mandolin skills.

With Molly now a full-time musician based in Nashville, Tennessee, and the boys still in school (Michael finishing high school and Sullivan at UC Santa Cruz) The Tuttles will be limited with their appearances to a few small timeframes each year. Hopefully we can make it to your part of the world!