Yonder Mountain’s Jeff Austin And Umphreys Mcgee’s Brendan Bayliss Get Together And Enlist Their Friend
As a huge fan of americana music in all it’s various forms, I love it when I get the chance to hear great new music and meet the gifted musicians who make it. Case in point was getting the honor of chatting with Yonder Mountain’s wickedly talented mandolin player Jeff Austin who took the time to answer a few questions on his rock and roll side project 30db formed with Umphreys Mcgee guitarist Brendan Bayliss.
I was taught growing up that the sign of a great man was how well he heaped praised on others who helped him along the way. Jeff Austin fits this description to a tee. When asked what contributions each of his bandmates in 30db brought to the table musically, Jeff wasted no time in parlaying effusive compliments and pointing out that the final sonic result of 30db’s new album, One Man Show would not have been possible without the talents and creativity of the handpicked gunslingers enlisted to join the band.
When asked about drummers, Jeff replied enthusiastically: “Working with Cody came about – well my manager is his manager as well…and when Brendan and I were putting together this project and we were steering this project towards being like a band, not just a duo, and we were searching for the right drummer, REALLY searching for the right drummer.”
Jeff continued: “Chris Tetzeli, who is my manager says ‘hey, you know…Cody Dickinson has some space, you know he has some time open and I think this would be a project he would be into’…I’d known Cody, we knew each other before this project, just very in passing kind of, then through this project we’ve become good friends and he’s just a great, great musician so that was kind of how it came about.”
Finding a drummer to transform the duo into a proper band also required rounding out and enlisting a supporting cast as well:
“It was also was just also kind of thinking, who would be best in these roles? Who could you hear playing? Brendan, Nick, and I had played some in the past – and Brendan, Eric, and I had played some in the past so it seemed like a natural fit to have those guys play with us” said Jeff.
The end result of taking the time to hand pick such a unique back-up band yields interesting, and ear pleasing results. Speaking of Austin, he positively shines on the mandolin and vocal duties on One Man Show. He dishes out heart rending, and at times vengeful lyrics on tunes like Liar and Automatic which is easily the biggest bombastic rock song of the album. Track #8, Grave, likely will appeal to fans who like foot stomping rock and roll with a dose of southern rock. Brendan and Jeff’s vocals supply the emotional grit to the already deliciously sandpaper texture of the music replete with the bandmembers chuckling at the end of the take showcasing the obvious emotional release of emptying your heart through music.
For me the highlight of the album is track #2, Always Up, with it’s delightfully tongue in cheek lyrics addressing the timeworn subject of boy-meets-girl-boy-yadda-yadda-girl-breaks-boy’s-heart-into-a-million-little-pieces skittering joyfully over bubbly pop song structures from The Beatles and Tom Petty school of songwriting.
“Your the X in the equation, that I don’t care to remember”
Overall, the new side project of veteran jam rockers and bluegrass superstars Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band), Brendan Bayliss (Umphrey’s McGee), Nick Forster (from Hot Rize and producer and host of the eTown Radio Show), Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), and Eric Thorin (Open Road), 30db is definitely turning out to be the surprise musical discovery of early 2010.
One Man Show – by 30db, available through SCI Fidelity Records