This month's B.O.R.N. recipient is Breaking Grass
Meet Breaking Grass, a busy bunch of guys from Mississippi with an original sound that combines their individual influences with traditional bluegrass. Featuring lead vocalist and guitarist Cody Farrar, Tyler White on fiddle, Thelton Vanderford on banjo, Zach Wooten on mandolin, and Britt Sheffield on bass, this band has one goal: play as much music as possible, whenever possible.
National Bluegrass caught up with Cody Farrar to find out more about what sets Breaking Grass apart.
NB: When did the band come together? And how did you find each other?
BG:We all kind of knew each other and I wanted to start something up in our local town so that people didn’t have to go to the next biggest city to hear bluegrass. We kind of clicked and we just ran with it. We only each live about 15 minutes from each other.
NB: How does the age range affect how you work?
BG: It’s more of a positive thing than a negative. The two 17 year olds keep it energetic and want to try new things; the banjo player brings the wisdom and keeps us on track on the business side of things, and me and the bass player we just are along for the ride.
NB: You have a pretty intense schedule – two projects back to back, second one due out in July with all original songs! How do you pull that off, and how do you follow it up?
BG: Well, I guess the best way to put it is we’re inspired. We want to push and want to do as much as we can, and we all have full time jobs on top of that. We just like to stay as busy as we can, and we’re just used to multitasking.
NB: Where do a lot of your song ideas come from?
BG: I wrote my first song when I was still in high school and it is actually on our new record. I can’t really take all the credit, I couldn’t write my songs without God, He does most of the writing for me. I will say most of them start on the steering wheel!
NB: There are a lot of different musical influences that band members bring to the group, some more traditional and others more wide ranging. What makes it work?
BG: I never had any bluegrass in my home growing up. I didn’t hear my first Flatt and Scruggs tape until I was in high school. Mom was a big Elvis fan and Dad loved southern gospel, so that’s all I ever knew. I just happened to pick up a tape at a yard sale one time and my parents and I just wore that thing out. With the guys it’s kind of a melting pot. Our banjo player is kind of into older country like George Strait. Our bass player Britt likes rock and new country. You might get in the vehicle with our fiddle player and he might have rap going. When I first started listening to bluegrass I was into heavy metal at the time. We kind of wanted to create a new sound and that’s kind of why we chose the name we did for our band.
NB: What does Breaking Grass aspire to in the next few years?
BG: We really want to do as much music as possible. We love what we do, we get to meet so many sweet folks when we are out there and we play. So no matter what we just want to play as much music as possible. We have talked about doing a gospel album. Sam Bush’s guitar player has worked on both albums with us and co-produced the second one.
NB: What do you all like to do for fun while you are on the road?
BG:Well we don’t really have a lot of free time! We’re usually at a show or at our jobs, but speaking for myself I’m an outdoors kind of guy. We like to camp or get out on the water. But not having a lot of free time is not a complaint!
NB: What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to the band on the road?
BG: It would be very hard to pinpoint that. One time we got in a gospel talent search - whoever won got to open up for the Isaacs, and we were all big fans of the Isaacs so we entered the contest, and we were blessed to win the competition. But we didn’t get to meet them face to face – the only time we met any of them was when we were warming up back stage, and Ben Isaacs came and asked us to keep it down because they were recording something in the dressing room. That was pretty funny.
NB:What else do you want readers to know about Breaking Grass.
BG:There are so many things I’d like to share about us. One is to let folks know that we’re not a gospel group but we’re definitely Christian, we know where our blessings come from. The thing that might be different when you come to see Breaking Grass you’re going to see the same guys every show. If we can’t all make it, we can’t book the show. Same thing on our records, it’s going to be us playing, it’s going to be singing, and it’s going to be us writing our songs. We may not be the best band but we sure have the best fans!