Jeff Austin Band w/ Front Country | Asheville Music Hall
Thursday May 2 @ 10:00 pm - Friday May 3 @ 2:00 am
Show: 10PM (Doors: 9PM)
Jeff Austin Band
Mandolinist Jeff Austin is unstoppable. He is celebrated for his fleet fingers and penchant for improvisation on stage, but those qualities also speak volumes about how he chooses to live. Austin has cultivated his natural musical abilities and allowed himself to be driven by his boldest instincts. In this way, he has been able to build positive, exciting momentum around his life’s greatest passion.
In 1998, while working at a bar called the Verve in Nederland, Colorado, Austin met Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann, with whom he and Dave Johnston would form the Yonder Mountain String Band.
“My time with Yonder has taught me what is possible,” Austin says. “It has shown me that if you work hard at it and you believe in it and there’s a part of you that’s meant to do it, it will happen. It’s clichéd, but it’s true.”
It is with this history at his back that Jeff Austin will step out into the spotlight as a solo act. “My ideal sound is between Phish, My Morning Jacket, and Zac Brown Band.” Austin plans to continue songwriting for his solo project but might be weaving in a bit of mainstream, in the style of his John Scott Sherrill/Shawn Camp co-write “Fiddlin’ Around,” featured on Dierks Bentley’s 2010 bluegrass album Up on the Ridge. “I love writing a three-minute song with a hook that would grab a five-hundred-pound marlin as much as I like writing something that goes, ‘okay, after the bridge, it’s going to open up and just go wide.’”
Indeed, “wide” is what Jeff Austin is all about. He wants new and different, complex and interesting. He wants everything the music world has to offer, and he’s willing to work hard to get it.
In a wood-paneled country dive bar in the shadow of the San Francisco skyline, Front Country forged a sound that lies somewhere between indie folk and Americana—a genre some might call “Roots Pop”: the past is discernible with a wink and a nod, and the future is here. Like a carpenter building a rocket ship, there is a whimsy to Front Country’s perspective that takes an active, imaginative listener to appreciate. It’s not a sound based on current trends of what any mainstream audience has asked for, it is a new perspective looking to find a new audience. On their latest album, Other Love Songs, Front Country melds the ferocious energy of lead singer Melody Walker with a band of wickedly creative instrumentalists, building on songwriting influences as far afield as King Crimson or tUnE-yArDs. They’re working to translate the incredibly intricate arrangements and structures of the best pop songs into an organic, on-the-fly acoustic string band.