Tyler Grant, former member of the Emmitt-Nershi Band and the Drew Emmitt Band, has been working on doing his own thing as a band leader since 2010. Talking to the Colorado Daily on his cell from a trailhead, having just finished a hike, he was adamant that his latest project, the Grant Farm, is not a bluegrass quartet anymore. The band’s lineup has changed a bit, and with it the style evolved, but a final formation has come together. The band just finished recording an album.
Tell me about making the album.
It’s mostly my original songs, but it’s a collaboration of all the guys in the band. Our keyboard player and bass player each brought in a song. So the CD is a representation of who we are now as a four-piece, but also it includes Andy Thorn, who’s the guy I started the band with, who plays with Leftover Salmon and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, and he couldn’t join us fulltime. The classic version of Grant Farm is represented on there and Keith Moseley is on about four of the songs.
I was hunting for a permanent lineup because I wanted to move the band forward, and once I found the guys who are in the band now, we had about eight more songs to do at that point. It worked out great. At that point, it came together just in time to get busy.
Our description of it is roots, rock and “cris-co.” We’re rootsy in that we have a lot of country elements and blue grass elements. And we do a thing called the “cris-co” beat, which is sort of country/disco, which you kind of have to hear to understand. It’s kind of how we treat some of the bluegrass rhythms with disco beats on the drums.
People who are used to me as a bluegrass player will probably be a little surprised. We’re really trying to bring the party with this one.
What’s it been like making these changes?
It’s fun … This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, which is to kinda put everything I’ve been doing in the last 10 or 15 years, put everything together into something that would be the most fun. To create a new sound with a band of guys who are really into it and committed to being our best, and to be right on the cusp of debuting the band on a national scene is really exciting. We’re all so eager to get out and play.
How long have you been working with The Grant Farm band?
It’s been about three years since it started, but in its current configuration its really only been about a year and a half. The first half of the time we were a bluegrass band … and then it became the electric band … So I would say the electric Grant Farm, it’s been just over a year, really, that we’ve been in place. At this point, it feels like a new beginning. I’ll listen to tapes of each show and hear the sound evolving and hear it become a nice cohesive sound.
So what’s next?
A lot of hard work, I’ll tell you what. We have a couple of tours coming up. We’ll be touring the album quite a bit and hitting a bunch of markets we haven’t been to yet — west coast, southeast, midwest — stopping at as many radio markets as we can. And we have a couple festivals this summer. Our long term plan is to keep building the band, get ourselves into some high-profile tours and festival plays … really push our concept and our message — which is really just all things roots and nature oriented.
I do want to get involved in some CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I’m all about doing what I can to support local food production and it conveniently ties in with our band name.
I have to ask about your National Flatpicking Champion title.
It’s an annual event and I won in 2008. There’s a grace period. You have to wait five years before you enter again. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. I did a lot of those contests … and won most of the major flatpicking contests and kinda got that done. It’s a lot of fun, but you can imagine being part of a contest and being judged and all that. It was nerve-wracking.