Jeff Austin Embraces The Here and Now
Who is going to be playing with you on that album? Is all that still in the works?
Still in the works. I have a ghost editor, my mysterious wizard behind the curtain who is helping me edit and we are just wrapping up our summers and we’re going to come up with a list of songs that speak to each other.
Will they be originals or covers?
Originals. Well, the majority of them will be originals that I have written. Some the people have heard and some that people have not. If it is a cover it will be a song from someone I know. Maybe Danny Barnes, or Todd Snider wrote a song. Who knows. Maybe Sarah Siskind wrote a song. And not to let the cat out of the bag, but there’s one song in particular of hers that we are looking at cutting and we have gotten her blessing.
The one thing it probably won’t be is a bluegrass record. Whatever the tone of the song as I wrote it, that’s what it will be-like “What The Night Brings.” I didn’t write that as a bluegrass song at all, not even close. I sped it up out of necessity. So that’s a song that we are looking at putting on the record, but everything’s up in the air right now. I’ve got this person that is willing to help me edit this in a very honest place. But, I would say you can be rest assured that Danny, Larry, Jenny, Cody, and other musicians I’ve worked with recently will be on it.
Is this Here and Now project going to be something that you’re only doing this summer or continual?
Continual. Eventually I think my name will be get stripped away from it and It will just be called The Here and Now. I like the idea of the Here and Now because it’s very self-defining. It’s what’s here and what’s now. There’s no mystery behind the name. I’m a big fan of Ram Dass’ Be Here Now, which is very important to me. It’s helped me in a lot of ways. It brought me to Colorado, helped me in hard times, that book helped me to ‘be here now’. So The Here and Now is a nod to the impact of a book like that and what the ideas of those brown little pages in the middle have given me strength with.
Another project you worked on was 30db. Do you have any plans to continue work on that?
Yonder was on tour, and we had a few days off, so I spent an afternoon with Brendan trading songs. We are going back and forth. We’re doing the same thing, and doing the editing process for each other.
Will it be more so just acoustic stuff?
We don’t know. You know I love that record! I go away from that record and then I come back to it and I think, “Fuck! this is a good fuckin record!” We recorded that record mostly live. My vocals were mostly entirely live, and Brendan recorded live vocals. The tracks were live. We didn’t take this and this and squish ‘em together. They were no click tracks, they were all live. They was very little fixing or tweaking. How it was how it was because it was raw music. We thought it’s got to have a raw edge to it. But, yeah, he just sent me a song and when I get done with this run I have four weeks off, so I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.
Remodel another bathroom?
(Laughs) I’m gonna finish remodeling a bathroom, watch ‘em install a deck, and find out the sex of my future child!
Yeah, right?! Woo! The baby!
Is there going to be any sort of musical reunion with Brendan Bayliss on December 30th [both Yonder and Umphrey’s McGee are in the midst of Colorado New ear’s Eve runs- Yonder at the Boulder Theater and UM at Denver’s Fillmore, yet neither group has announced a show on the 30th]?
(Laughs) Everybody’s wandering. You know, I have to be frank with you I’m kind of curious as to why we aren’t playing on the 30th too. I brought this up the other day. Something stinks about this. Are we doing someone a favor? Does someone have naked pictures of me? I don’t know what’s going on. But, no there will not be. I do know that we’re there.
So you’re not playing anywhere, or it just hasn’t been announced yet?
That’s up in the air right now.
But there won’t be anything going on with Umphrey’s?
No. Unfortunately no. That’s not going to be the thing that’s happening. I did mention on twitter That we have kicked around the idea of doing an entirely Barry Manilow set with the YUM tour, the Yonder Mountain Umphrey’s McGee tour. All Barry Manilow, the “Copacabana Reprise” is going to be outstanding…..I’m totally kidding! People thought we were serious. I said, it’s Twitter, it’s an illusion, don’t believe everything you read.
I probably shouldn’t say too much, but it’s a Monday. There’s the thought of people needing the day of or people that actually have to work on the 30th. So I would say that If we did anything as far as Jeff speaking from Yonder’s perspective more than likely it would be donations to charity or we would do a show, at maybe a smaller venue with a higher price ticket, and donate all that money. If I’m going to play that day I don’t need to get another paycheck. It’s the end of the year, it’s a hard time for many people. I’d rather take that and raise up money and give it away.
How do you go about writing new songs? Do you write the music and the lyics at the same time? Find the words later?
Either one. The key thing this is not to become frustrated if you have a lyric, but no melody for it, don’t fucking stop, because you can always edit it. There are a few songs, like “What The Night Brings,” I have the original lyric sheet, and there is one line crossed out and everything else is written as is. That was melody and music and words all at once.
So there’s no particular order.
Yeah, it doesn’t matter. You can come up with a lick. I was in Belize diving two years ago, fifty feet under water, and all of a sudden I came up with this lick, and I was on this forty-five minute dive and I had to sing this lick the whole time and the I got in the boat and I asked my dive master for a pen. He said, ‘Were you thinking about that the whole time?!” I said I was thinking about turtles and sting rays too.
You were working on a new studio recording with Yonder and you finished that. Do you know when that’s going to be released?
I think it will be ready for the Fall tour. I just saw the artwork, and it’s so cool. Four songs, one from each of us. It’s just an EP. We’re just trying to figure out with Yonder how to release records. I read a comment the other day about how it sucks we haven’t had a new record. And if you want to talk about the un-fun part about any business..well if you love going to a restaurant, and you love the food, but you sat down with the chef and talked to him he would have you so bummed out because he would be like, “Well the sea urchin came in, and it was fuckin sour” and this and that. Any business you want to talk the brass tacks about, it’s not really fun. Records don’t get made for free. And, if you don’t make that back, and you do it three or four times…when you’re doing smashing your head against the wall you go, “Hey that hurts, I’m going to stop.” That’s the un-fun part of the business. So when fan say that I say, “Let’s talk about the fun part.”