Tyler Grubb plays mandolin and trombone in Carrie Nation and The Speakeasy. He lives in Wichita when he’s not touring the United States (or elsewhere) with the band. Here, he discusses his relationship with the mandolin.
“I played guitar in high school and [brothers] Jason and Jarrod and Zach [Starling] were playing this string music. Jason was in Carrie Nation for a while and then he moved to Colorado. We still had the songs that needed mandolin. There’s always that vacuum of not having it. I borrowed a mandolin and started working through how to play it.
It’s still the instrument that I practice with the most, because I can just sit on the couch, watch a movie or TV and still just play it. You can’t do that with a trombone.
It doesn’t have any sustain. So you have to be right there with another note, ready to go. Because what you can pull off on a guitar—strumming a big chord, hitting a big harmony line when you’re doing a solo and you bend a note and pull it and hold it, you can do that on a guitar or a lot of other instruments but on a mandolin you can’t. When you do get going you want excitement in an instrument you almost have to hit 16th notes over and over and over. You don’t have to move along the scale. You’ve got to bring that excitement. You hear it quickly played because of that.”