On Saturday, Yonder Mountain String Band offered up a performance on the Main Stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, marking the band’s 20th year in a row performing at the beloved bluegrass gathering. Prior to their set, news and rumors were flying around about the hospitalization of Yonder’s former co-founding mandolinist, Jeff Austin.
Yonder Mountain String Band acknowledged Austin’s medical emergency with a Facebook post, which read, “It’s with heavy hearts that we’ve learned of Jeff Austin’s recent hospitalization. We ask that you join us in praying for his recovery and respect his family’s privacy during this time.”
Halfway through their Telluride Bluegrass set, bassist Ben Kaufmann shared his thoughts with the crowd. He explained.
Twenty years ago me, Dave and Adam and Jeff Austin stood on this stage and we shared our music with you for the first time. We woke up today and the internet was on fire with rumors and speculation about our brother Jeff Austin. And what we can say is that he is still with us. What is appropriate right now: if you’re a prayer, send prayers his way. If you’re a lover, send love his way. If you’re a healer, send energy his way. This is what we’re going to send his way.
Yonder then worked their way into “Half Moon Rising”, a song that Jeff Austin wrote and Yonder has put on the shelf since Jeff departed the band in 2014. Guitarist Adam Aijala stepped up to the mic to handle lead vocals, with an emotional Telluride crowd singing and dancing along.
Yonder went on to welcome Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck, Dave Bruzza, and Paul Hoffman, along with Tim O’Brien and Chris Daniels for a “Traffic Jam” and “Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown”.
Luckily, there’s a full-show audience recording of Yonder’s Telluride Bluegrass show, which you can listen to below:
Yonder Mountain String Band – Telluride Bluegrass Festival – 6/22/2019