Home Jambase Remembering Jeff Austin: Performing John Hartford’s ‘Aereo-Plain’ Album Live In 2018

Remembering Jeff Austin: Performing John Hartford’s ‘Aereo-Plain’ Album Live In 2018

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Jeff Austin died tragically on this date in 2019. The highly influential singer-songwriter and mandolinist joined the cutting edge of the burgeoning Colorado jamgrass scene of the 1990s as a co-founder of Yonder Mountain String Band in 1998. Along with bands like Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident, YMSB — ​​Austin, guitarist Adam Aijala, banjoist Dave Johnston and bassist Ben Kaufmann — helped introduce bluegrass to a new generation.

While Yonder’s fellow Colorado jamgrass progenitors SCI and LoS had drummers, YMSB for the most part went without (although they did collaborate with a number of drummers in the studio and sometimes live, most notably with Phish’s Jon Fishman).

“I’m not totally opposed to the idea of having a drummer or bringing one out on tour,” Aijala said in a 2013 interview with Asheville’s Mountain Xpress, “but one of the things that I think separates us from other bands is the lack of a drummer.”

As Adam noted, not having a regular drummer set the band apart from some of their peers who were adding drums to traditional bluegrass instrumentation as well as from rock bands in general. YMSB showed what a quartet made up of traditional bluegrass instruments could do in a live setting when untethered from convention, paving the way for today’s top jamgrass acts like Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings and more.

At the center of that exploration and innovation was the astronomical musical talent, magnetic charisma and will to be weird that Jeff possessed. Those traits linked him to one of his heroes who, along with Newgrass Revival, also pushed the boundaries of bluegrass 30 years before YMSB: the incomparable John Hartford. According to Setlist.FM stats, YMSB covered John Hartford more than any other artist.

While Austin and YMSB parted ways in 2014, Jeff continued to tour with a revolving door of stellar musicians in the Jeff Austin Band and Hartford songs continued to be a big part of Jeff’s repertoire. On June 2, 2018 the Jeff Austin Band with special guests Darol Anger and Jay Starling performed John Hartford’s landmark 1971 album Aereo-Plain at the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana.

Jeff Austin Band kicked off the festival slot with some YMSB classics including opener “Too Late Now” as well as “Steep Grade, Sharp Curves” and Jeff’s John Hartford-inspired cover of The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” Austin and company got to Hartford in earnest with a complete rendering of Aereo-Plain including now bluegrass standards like “Turn The Radio On,” “Back In The Goodle Days,” “Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie,” “With A Vamp In The Middle,” “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” and more.

To remember Jeff Austin, see Jeff Austin Band perform Aereo-Plain and more in 2018 below:

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Pro-Shot Video: Aereo-Plain Performance


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John Hartford Memorial Festival



(See 2 videos)


Jeff Austin Band



(See 31 videos)

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Fan-Shot Video: Full Show

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MyTallTripod



(See 530 videos)


Jeff Austin Band



(See 31 videos)

Setlist

Jeff Austin at Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park

  • Too Late Now  
  • Steep Grade, Sharp Curves  
  • No Expectations  
  • Underground
  • Hear That Whistle Blow (A Hundred Miles)  Aereo-Plain
    • Turn Your Radio On  
    • Steamboat Whistle Blues  
    • Back in the Goodle Days  Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie  
    • Boogie  
    • First Girl I Loved  
    • With a Vamp in the Middle  
    • Symphony Hall Rag  
    • Because of You  
    • Steam Powered Aereo Plane  
    • Holding  
    • Tear Down the Grand Ole Opry  
    • Leather Britches  
    • Station Break  
    • Turn Your Radio On
    • Albert E. Brumley
    • Unknown Song
    Encore
    • Raleigh and Spencer  Boatman’s Dance  

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Source: JamBase.com