Jeff Austin, Bluegrass Musician Who Co-Founded Yonder Mountain String Band, Dead at 45
Austin was a singer and mandolinist for the group, which he remained a member of from 1998 to 2013
Bluegrass musician and singer Jeff Austin has died at age 45 after an unspecified “medical emergency.”
Austin’s death was revealed in a statement from the Yonder Mountain String Band Facebook account, the band which he helped co-found and performed in for 15 years. His personal Facebook account also revealed the tragic news.
“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,” the post began, with an image of Austin playing the mandolin.
“Austin passed away June 24, 2019 in Seattle, Washington,” the post continued. “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.”
The post also noted that contributions can be made to Austin’s family at Sweet Reliefs Musicians Fund.
On June 22, the singer announced on his Facebook page that he was no longer able to perform at the ROMP Festival, due to a medical emergency. The festival, which takes place in Yellow Creek Park from Wednesday to Saturday, acknowledged Austin’s absence from the four-day event on their website.
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“As many of you know, ROMP alum and favorite Jeff Austin experienced a medical emergency and had to cancel upcoming dates, including his appearance at ROMP,” the statement read.
“Our thoughts are with Jeff and his family, join us in sending well wishes his way. Please consider giving back to a musician who has enlightened us all with his artistry,” it added, with a donation button to Sweet Reliefs Musicians Fund.
Austin was best known for co-founding Yonder Mountain String Band in 1998 and remained a key member of the group as the mandolinist, alongside members Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral and Jake Jolliff.
In 2013, he announced he would be taking leave of absence from Yonder due to the pending birth of his child, but later noted it was due to “creative differences and conflicting career goals.”
During his time with Yonder Mountain String Band, they released four studio albums and several live recordings. in 2010, they hosted a music festival in Ozark, Arkansas, which was called Yonder Mountain’s Harvest Festival.
In 2015, he released his first and only solo album, titled “The Simple Truth.”