Sweet Relief has established an official fund to aid mandolin player Jeff Austin. On Saturday, June 23, the Yonder Mountain String Band co-founder, who parted ways with that group in 2015 and has since focused on his solo career, cancelled a number of upcoming shows due to a “medical emergency.”
A note on the non-profit’s page reads:
Friends-Thanks for your care and concern over the past days. Your outpouring of support is genuinely appreciated. Know that when Jeff and his family are prepared to detail any news, you’ll be able to find that here, and on Jeff’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/JeffAustinOfficial/ What we can share at this time, is that Jeff is in Seattle with his family, receiving the best care possible. Please consider showing your support, and love by contributing to his medical fund. Thanks very much. Much love to all.
As a founding member of Yonder Mountain String Band, mandolinist, singer, & songwriter Jeff Austin is a prominent figure in the neo-progressive bluegrass of the new millennium. After 15 years with Yonder, he left in early 2014, 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.
On Saturday, Umphrey’s McGee dedicated The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” to Austin during their performance at Morrison, Colo.’s Red Rocks. Austin’s old bandmates Yonder Mountain also paid tribute to their former collaborator with “Half Moon Rising” during their set at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Please click here to donate to Austin’s Sweet Relief fund.