Jeff Austin, 45, passed away in Seattle, WA on Monday, June 24. This news comes after an announcement on Saturday that he was canceling his upcoming music sets due to a medical emergency. The cause of his death has not been released.
The news was confirmed on June 25 with an official statement, reading, “It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved family member, mandolinist, singer, songwriter and founder of The Jeff Austin Band, and Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin. Austin passed away June 24, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. He was son of Eileen Austin, husband to Devlyn, and father to Lily Rose (12), Penelope (5), and Jude Patrick (2). He was a dear friend whose music touched the lives of so many, and will be sorely missed. If you would like to make a contribution to help his family, please visit Sweetrelief.org.”
News of his death quickly traveled through the jam and bluegrass scenes, with many taking to social media to express their condolences.
Austin co-founded Yonder Mountain String Band in 1998 and was with the band through some of their biggest career moments. Yonder Mountain brought the jamgrass genre to the forefront of the live music circuit. In 2014, Austin left Yonder Mountain to pursue solo projects including The Jeff Austin Band, The Here And Now, and Grateful Grass. In the last few years, the mandolinist had returned his focus to 30db, an acoustic duo with Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss. They released One Man Show in 2010, toured in support of the album intermittently and eventually began a tradition of a Chicago holiday concert. In May 2019, Jeff Austin canceled his performances with his band and 30db at the Summer Camp Music Festival, citing a family emergency.
Austin was born in 1974, raised in Illinois and studied musical theater at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He first picked up a mandolin in 1996 with little experience, but quickly became a master at the instrument. Loved and renowned by fellow musicians and fans alike, this a huge loss for the music community.
Austin performed with moe. at the 2008 moe.down in Turin, NY.
Yonder Mountain String Band performs Danny Barnes’ “Death Trip” at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, on 7/15/2011 with special guests Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter