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Jeff Austin (1974–2019), co-founder of Yonder Mountain String Band

Getty Images / Redferns / Anthony Pidgeon

Former mandolinist for the popular progressive bluegrass band

Jeff Austin was a co-founder, mandolinist, and singer for the popular progressive bluegrass band, the Yonder Mountain String Band. Based in Colorado, they are popular on the jam band scene and pioneers of modern bluegrass. Austin and banjoist Dave Johnston were playing in a bluegrass band when they met Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann, forming the Yonder Mountain String Band in 1998. Austin left the band in 2014, and started the Jeff Austin Band.  His band was actively touring when they had to abruptly cancel upcoming shows due to Austin’s medical emergency.

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Died: Monday, June 24, 2019 (Who else died on June 24?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 45, after being put in a medically induced coma following a medical emergency.


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What they said about him: “We are deeply saddened that we have lost Jeff Austin. The UM organization mourns his passing, while celebrating the joy & laughter he brought to so many of us. Our thoughts are with his
family & the wider community.” —Umphrey’s McGee

“We are saddened to report that we have lost our brother Jeff Austin. Remembering the incredible times and magical moments puts us at a profound loss for words. While we honor his memory, we will continue to pray for his family and for the journey they now face without him.” —Yonder Mountain String Band statement on Facebook

“The Infamous Stringdusters opened up for Yonder in our early years and they taught us what was possible as an acoustic bluegrass band to be presented as a rock band. Jeff Austin was a huge part of presenting bluegrass as a rock show. It’s tragic. We’re all going to miss him and his profound influence on our scene.” —Jeremy Garrett, member of the Infamous Stringdusters, told Rolling Stone

Full obituary: Denver Post

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