Best known for playing the mandolin and singing for fantastic progressive bluegrass collective The Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin spreads his musical wings on eclectic solo debut “The Simple Truth.” In addition to bluegrass, there’s plenty of rock, pop and country sprinkled into the enjoyable 10-track release.
Austin assembled a first-rate cadre of supporting players for the album, including Danny Barnes (banjo/guitar), Ross Marton (guitar), Eric Thorn (bass), Cody Dickinson (drums) and Sarah Siskind (guitar/vocals).
“This is it. This is the band. We’re here and we’re focused,” Austin says. “As the primary writer and singer, my name be attached to the thing, but this is everybody’s band. To see the work these guys are doing on a nightly basis, embedding themselves and the dedication to work, it’s ridiculous. It’s a cool thing to be part of.”
Rocking opener “What the Night Brings” serves notice right away that “The Simple Truth” is more than a bluegrass record. Austin & Co. additionally score with “Fiddling Around,” “Over and Over,” “Gatling Gun,” “Run Down” and “Falling Stars.” It’s nice to see an accomplished artist like Austin taking his music in new and exciting directions. (Jeffrey Sisk)