Jeff Austin Band, live at Hangar 9 in Carbondale, Illinois on 09/16/15. Photos by: Matthew McGuire.
Jeff Austin Band, live at Hangar 9 in Carbondale, Illinois on 09/16/15. Photos by: Matthew McGuire.

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Written by: Matthew McGuire
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The Jeff Austin Band and Way Down Wanderers plugged in and stripped down their sound on Wednesday, September 16 in downtown Carbondale, Illinois.

The doors opened at 8 p.m. and the Way Down Wanderers performed from 9-10 p.m. Their traditional bluegrass sound reminded me of the Henhouse Prowlers. Both bands showcase the Chicago bluegrass style, and I enjoyed listening to their approach to live music before the Jeff Austin Band got ready to go.


Jeff Austin Band live at Hangar 9

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Jeff Austin Band

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“My time with Yonder has taught me what is possible,” Austin says. “It has shown me that if you work hard at it and you believe in it and there’s a part of you that’s meant to do it, it will happen. It’s clichéd, but it’s true.” – Jeff Austin


After seeing Jeff grow with the Yonder Mountain String Band since 2003, and recently exit the band, I understand a lot of his backstory.

My first YMSB show was at Bonnaroo 2003, when the band performed on the Which Stage to 30,000-50,000 guests in love with the music.

After experiencing the band for over 10 years, I could feel the fuel getting low within the creative tank across the board. As much as I would like to see them playing together again, I find that the new additions to each band gives a breathe of fresh air to the sound.

During the show, I headed over to the bar and started talking with a good friend about Austin’s departure from YMSB. He noted that a group of our friends had talked directly with Jeff about him leaving the band. It is not my story to tell, and I feel that Jeff has gone through a lot with the transition. If it were me, I would hope that audiences respect a new band, a new sound, and touring across the states to entertain people is enough.

In 2012, I spoke with the band in an interview for JamBase, and really started to get to know each musician. I noted that the band was not showing any signs of slowing down, and even with a breakup, their love for music is so deep, they have continued to push forward.

That level of enthusiasm was shown on the stage Wednesday night with the Jeff Austin Band.


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