So, last Friday, a buddy of mine and I went to Sundown at Granada looking for some free music. Not ever having heard of either band (that's right, this particular night was a double performance at Sundown.) we decided to take a chance.
While the act down on the main stage was very talented musically, I couldn't help but feel that JD and the Straight Shot was just an excuse for "lead singer" Jim Dolan (Owner of NY Knicks) to get up and sing karaoke to impress potential business contact. That being said, he did surround himself with many very talented musicians, and never missed a lyric (partially because he had a screen with lyrics on it).
The second group, who performed on the rooftop patio this evening, was Grant Farm, a Bluegrass Jam Band with ties to some major touring acts. These were the guys to see that night, and we knew it.
Former members of Leftover Salmon, The Drew Emmitt Band, Emmitt-Nershi Band, came together to form Grant Farm; a 4-piece group from Boulder Colorado which have featured in their performances members of The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Motet, Head For The Hills, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Dumpstaphunk, Tony Rice, Larry Keel, Keller Williams, Jon Oates, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Disco Biscuits, Abigail Washburn and Peter Rowan.
With the help of Thorn and stellar bassist Keith Moseley of The String Cheese Incident, the electric Grant Farm started rehearsing in early 2011. Performing locally lead to a hefty festival run including Yarmonygrass, Four Corners Folk Festival, NedFest, Fort Collins Bark n’ Bluegrass, Riverfront, and Harvestival.
At set break, I was able to get a short interview with the man behind the band; Tyler Grant.
Scott Wayne - How long have you all been playing together?
Tyler Grant - "We've been around for about three years, we started off as a Bluegrass group. Andy Thorn from Leftover Salmon and myself, we were in the Emmitt-Nershi Band and we started this as our side project. It then evolved into this sort of Rock 'n Roll/Rootsy group that it is now."
SW - So this is your first time playing in Dallas?
TG - "... in Texas, we're playing SXSW (South By Southwest); we're part of a group called Spokesbuzz that's based in Fort Collins, and they do a band exchange program with several different cities, Lafayette LA, Nashville, Asheville, and Fort Collins. But they also all of their groups from Colorado to SXSW for a showcase. We'll be part of the Spokesbuzz Showcase at SXSW this March. And this weekend we've got Poodie’s tomorrow night (10/12 outside of Austin), we've got the Saxon Pub in Austin on Sunday."
SW - So you are doing a little Texas Run then?
TG - "Yeah, and then we are opening three shows for Greensky Bluegrass in Baton Rouge, Mobile, and Memphis. And this whole tour is routing to Mulberry Mountain for The Yonder Mountain Harvest Fest. (10/17-19) It's a great festival, the same place they do Wakarusa."
SW - What do you enjoy most about playing with Grant Farm?
TG - "It's a fruition of all the efforts I want to put out and into the scene right now. I feel like we are giving it something that the scene needs, getting back to a little bit, kind of Rootsy, and Rock n' Roll, and Country...Of course Bluegrass influence because I am a Bluegrass guy. We're just putting it out there and trying to write the best songs we can, and really it's just happening; it's hard to explain. It's just happening and we're on the bus, love it!"
Seeing as there was a noise complaint, we never did get a second set, so when the official interview ended my buddy and I chilled with the guys in the band. I am now the official authority on Grant Farm's return to DFW, as they said I'll be the first to know! Next time we will blow them away with an excellent turn out, and we'll show 'em just how much we like Jam-Grass down here in Texas!
Tyler Grant - Guitar/Vocal
Adrian Engfer - Bass/Vocal
Sean Macaulay - Drums/Vocal
Stephen Thurston - Keyboards/Vocal