BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
After plying his craft with the popular Colorado bluegrass band Yonder Mountain String Band, mandolin player and ad hoc front man Jeff Austin steps out on his own with a solo debut that gleans the host of musical influences he’s acquired thus far. Recruiting an astute group of players – Bad Livers’ Danny Barnes on banjo and guitar, guitarist Ross Martin, bass player Eric Thorin, and drummer/percussionist Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars – Austin conveys an obvious competence and confidence at the helm of his own ensemble.
That’s evident immediately with lead-off track “What the Night Brings,” a robust and rollicking affair that delivers with a decidedly anthemic effect. Nevertheless, the back porch pluck and strum of “Simple Truth,” the celebratory fiddle frenzy amplified in the descriptive “Fiddling Around” and the breezy bluegrass of “Run Down” belies any suggestion that Austin’s shunning his rural roots to further his populist appeal. To the contrary, there’s ample evidence herein that Austin’s immersion in Americana has found a broader base, whether it’s through the funky, brass-infused “Shake Me Up” or the unassuming balladry of “Scrapbook Pages” and “Falling Stars.”
True to its title The Simple Truth finds every song a standout, with nary a false note besides.
DOWNLOAD: “What the Night Brings,” “Fiddling Around,” “Scrapbook Pages”