“This is it. This is the band. We’re here and we’re focused,” singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Jeff Austin says with glee. He’s referring to his handpicked ensemble, the Jeff Austin Band. The group features long-time collaborator Danny Barnes on banjo and guitar, guitarist Ross Martin, bass player Eric Thorin, and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on percussion.
The Simple Truth, the group’s 2015 debut solo album and Austin’s first recording for Yep Roc, is no simple affair. His legions of fans have long known of Austin’s eclectic musical influences. Here, instead of familiar jam band motifs, listeners will find hints of power pop, country ballads, bluegrass and rock. Assisting the band is an array of acclaimed guests including Todd Snider, Jenn Hartswick, Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee and Sarah Siskind.
It’s hard not to notice Austin’s enthusiasm for the new project. “As the primary writer and singer, my name may be attached to the thing, but this is everybody’s band,” he says. “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 a part of.”
You can also pre-order The Simple Truth on iTunes to get the new track “Fiddling Around” as an instant download, and catch the Jeff Austin Band on tour in early 2015.