Jeff Austin assembles super bluegrass group

Tahoe Onstage

Front man Jeff Austin left Yonder Mountain String Band after 17 years.

What do you get when a pioneering member of a top-tier bluegrass band strikes out on his own with a new posse?

Ask to the Jeff Austin Band, and you get “The Simple Truth.”

Departing Yonder Mountain String Band in 2014 after over a decade of national success, mandolinist and front man Austin wasted little time in assembling his own band and hitting the road, joined by Danny Barnes (banjo, guitar), Ross Martin (guitar), Eric Thorin (bass), and Cody Dickinson (percussion). All of the members share a lengthy history of collaboration with Austin, often as a part of his erstwhile side project, Jeff Austin and Friends.

“This is it. This is the band. We’re here and we’re focused,” Austin said in an article on his website.

The group will appear at Crystal Bay Casino, Friday, April 24, playing the Crown Room, a venue Austin has graced many times in the past.

Jeff Austin Band released its debut album, “The Simple Truth,” on February 10, 2015.

The record showcases the wide variety of musical influences on Austin’s music, eschewing the grass and jam band sounds that have typified his sound in the past in favor of “power pop, country ballads, bluegrass and rock,” according to the band’s site.

Jeff Austin promoWhile Austin’s well-worn mandolin took something of a backseat on this record, it is still very much present on a number of tracks.

“On this record you notice that the mandolin is scattered about,” Austin said in the article. “I wanted to sing these songs without worrying if I have to do a solo here or figure out a riff for this part. I wanted to sing songs the best I could, tap into a lot of emotions that I haven’t ventured to in a while.”

Austin also invited a number of guest musicians to record on the project, including Todd Snider, Jenn Hartswick, Brendan Bayliss, and Sarah Siskind, furthering the record’s eclecticism.

The Jeff Austin Band is on tour this spring, with shows around the western United States in April and May, before heading back east in June.


  • Jeff Austin Band
    When: 9 p.m. Friday, April 24
    Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
    Tickets: $18 in advance or $23 on the day of the show

About Josh Sweigert

Josh grew up on the California coast with a deep appreciation for bluegrass and string band music as well as the great outdoors. A guitarist and singer, he plays solo acoustic gigs in South Lake Tahoe.

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