Jeff Austin

0
:: Jeff Austin and Friends :: Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom :: December 2
:: Aggie Theatre :: December 3
:: Fox Theatre :: December 4
:: Yonder Mountain String Band :: December 30 and 31 :: Fillmore Auditorium ::

Austin looks to take on nashville in 2OO6 while keeping yonder a priority


jeffaustin.jpg copy

 By Bruce Lish

 

“It’s pretty amazing. There’s really no other way you can put it. Big Head Todd had the room for three years running, I think. It was theirs as long as they wanted … fuck man, to have the home town faithful….” Putting it mildly, mandolin player/vocalist Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band was quite pleased to be hosting this coming New Year’s Eve at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium, for the second year running. And with a line-up for Dec. 30 which includes the Neville Brothers, and for the 31st that features “Panama Red” Peter Rowan and former Leftover Salmon heroes Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt in a mini-reunion/collaboration, along with local favorites Uncle Earl — plus special guest fiddler extraordinaire, ‘Yonder Family’ member Darol Anger — Austin has a whole lot to be excited about.

 

“We wanted to have Pete [Rowan] out the last couple of years, and it finally worked out. And the thought came out about a Leftover Salmon reunion. We wanted to keep it in the family, keep it a home town kind of vibe,” said Austin, who spoke with The Marquee recently during a quick pleasure trip to The Big Apple.

 

In contrast to the upcoming decidedly homespun New Year’s run, Yonder’s continued growth, along with Austin’s personal journey, has brought the Colorado jamgrass scene in the form of these four occasionally clean-cut, fast-and-fun-pickin’ young men originally from the Chicago and Boston areas, to put down some new stakes in places like the music jungles of Los Angeles and Nashville.

 

“We’ve been a band for seven years now and I think it’s a natural development,” said Austin, commenting on Yonder’s recent decision to sign with L.A.-based Vanguard-Welk Records and record their upcoming yet-untitled studio album in the southern California confines of producer Tom Rothrock’s (Elliot Smith, Badly Drawn Boy, Beck) home studio. Vanguard-Welk is also the home of modern bluegrass favorites Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek. “Frogpad [Records, Yonder’s own record label] will still exist. It’s just going to step into the background for a little bit,” said Austin. “We could possibly do as much as three records with [Vanguard-Welk] if things go good … It’s just giving us different ideas and different tools to work with,” he continued. “We wanted to get out of our element, and continue to experiment a little. I think it [the new album]sounds more like us.” He elaborated, “There’s some different instrumentation and effects like we’ve been playing around with lately, and bridging gaps between songs, more continuity. If it can get people talking about this kind of music more, to actually have it up in the [popular music]mix,” explained Austin, then the latest studio effort, he concluded, was well worth their departure from a more traditional acoustic setting. 

“No matter what happens, the process [of making the record]was the huge thing,” said Austin, as he noted the memory among his keenest band moments of 2005. The new Yonder album should appear sometime around late spring or early summer.

 

Jeff Austin’s personal path also has led the extroverted singer down roads that, for now, seem to wind much further from the Colorado Front Range and Yonder’s tour schedule than in recent years. “I may make a slight exodus [to Nashville]and do some songwriting for a couple of years. It seemed like it might be a good idea,” he said, having already taken a cursory look into living accommodations in the ‘Bluegrass Capital’ area. “In no way would it affect anything with Yonder,” emphasized Austin, whose growing friendship with Nashville songwriters Shawn Camp, Todd Snider and others, has nonetheless planted the thought of leaving Colorado to mingle for a while in the Southeast music scene. But unlike other noted Boulder area bluegrass-Nashville-emigres Tim O’Brien and Noam Pikelny, Austin is quick to add, “But I’m sure the curse of Chief Niwot will bring me back here,” sounding confident that Colorado is still home. As for his commitment to the continued growth and success of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin assures all that his Yonder roots are still firmly set.

 

In what has become a real nice pre-New Year’s tradition in its own right, Austin will again be hosting a string of Jeff Austin and Friends shows around the area in early December. Featuring special guests Shawn Camp and bassist Brynn Davies, the Jeff and Friends run will also spotlight local singer/songwriter Benny Galloway’s new band, The Wayward Sons, along with a slew of local friends. “It’s just another excuse to spend some time and pick with friends I don’t get enough time to spend with these days,” said Austin. A wide variety of some of the finest ‘picking pals’ in the Front Range are apt to appear onstage at most any time during a Jeff and Friends show.

 

:: Jeff Austin and Friends :: Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom :: December 2

:: Aggie Theatre :: December 3

:: Fox Theatre :: December 4

:: Yonder Mountain String Band :: December 30 and 31 :: Fillmore Auditorium ::

Cool, Share this article:

Leave A Reply