The Simple Truth by Jeff Austin on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Most know Jeff Austin as the leader of The Yonder Mountain String Band. However, he quit in 2014 and assembled a harder rocking band with longtime collaborator banjo-guitarist Danny Barnes, guitarist Ross Martin, and bassist Eric Thorin. Assisting the band on Austin’s first solo album are Todd Snider, Jenn Hartswick, Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss, Sarah Siskind, and North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson. “Fiddling Around” closes in on bluegrass, while “What the Night Brings” is a country rocker worthy of Bob Seger. Grooves lock tight for “15 Steps” and “Shake Me Up.” But Austin’s arguably best on the ballads: “Scrapbook Pages,” “Over and Over,” and the album closer, “Falling Stars.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Most know Jeff Austin as the leader of The Yonder Mountain String Band. However, he quit in 2014 and assembled a harder rocking band with longtime collaborator banjo-guitarist Danny Barnes, guitarist Ross Martin, and bassist Eric Thorin. Assisting the band on Austin’s first solo album are Todd Snider, Jenn Hartswick, Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss, Sarah Siskind, and North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson. “Fiddling Around” closes in on bluegrass, while “What the Night Brings” is a country rocker worthy of Bob Seger. Grooves lock tight for “15 Steps” and “Shake Me Up.” But Austin’s arguably best on the ballads: “Scrapbook Pages,” “Over and Over,” and the album closer, “Falling Stars.”

TITLE TIME
4:09
2:50
3:50
2:59
3:17
3:26
3:21
3:46
3:24
5:29

About Jeff Austin

As the mandolinist and frequent lead singer for the Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin was a prominent figure in the neo-progressive bluegrass of the new millennium. After 15 years with the band, he left in early 2014 due to creative differences and personal changes, choosing to pursue a solo career he officially launched in early 2015 with the release of the full-length Simple Truth.

A native of the Chicago suburbs -- he was born in Arlington Heights and raised in Elk Grove -- Austin began playing music during a sojourn from college. He had been attending the University of Cincinnati but had headed down to Urbana, Illinois, where he met Bluegrassholes banjoist Dave Johnston, who wound up urging Austin to play mandolin and sing in the band. This band didn't last long and Austin soon moved to Nederland, Colorado, where Johnston and Austin would form Yonder Mountain String Band with Ben Kaufmann and Adam Aijala.

Yonder Mountain String Band's progressive bluegrass fit neatly into the confines of the modern jam band scene, as evidenced by their 1999 debut album, Elevation. Over the next decade, the band toured frequently and recorded nearly as often -- during this time, Austin often played with other musicians, including a 2004 side project with Chris Castino entitled Songs from the Tin Shed -- building up a loyal following so large they could host their own festival named Yonder Mountain's Harvest Festival in 2010. This happened after the 2009 release of The Show, which happened to be Austin's last with the band.

Facing the birth of his first child in January 2014, Austin came to the realization that he'd rather dedicate himself to his family instead of the band. He left the group amicably that April and soon afterward began recording his first solo album. That record, called Simple Truth, saw release on Yep Roc Records in February 2015. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    Arlington Heights, IL
  • BORN
    1974

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