The Jeff Austin Band wraps up the Free Summer Concert Series on Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

The Jeff Austin Band wraps up the Free Summer Concert Series on Saturday

On Saturday with the Jeff Austin band - that includes frontman Jeff Austin, Danny Barnes, Eric Thorin and Ross Martin - will headline the last Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series performance.

— With the exception of being taller than most bluegrass bands, there are a few things that sets the Jeff Austin Band apart.

"There is the subconscious part of music where you rehearse like crazy and work on things over and over, then there is the unexpected aspect of it from the improv that for me I feel sets us apart," said singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Jeff Austin. "A live bluegrass performance is many times a formulaic thing, and within that formula, we try something else. Instead of being soloists, we complement each other and form our own chords after it, giving each other a bigger landscape to work with."

Known for his passionate songwriting and lively performances, Austin will be in Steamboat Springs Saturday with his handpicked ensemble that includes Danny Barnes, Eric Thorin and Ross Martin. They will perform at the last Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series performance.

At the Howelsen Hill Amphitheater, the USA Pro Challenge Teams Presentation will start at 5 p.m., and the concert will follow.

Presented with a blank slate, Austin had the freedom to create something on his own after parting ways with the Younder Mountain String Band early last year. Looking back, Austin said he had a really good time for those 16 and a half years with the band.

But now, a new opportunity has presented itself. One that offered a fresh start that brought a sense of fearlessness.

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"We've really come up with something different. and we want it to sound like us, not anything else," Austin said. "There are moments that really set us apart."

Reworking music he's had on the back burner for years, Austin, Barnes, Thorin and Martin are touring in conjunction with the release of their debut album, "The Simple Truth." Constantly pushing himself creatively with songwriting the new album, Austin said that the band has started to see people attach themselves to its music by singing the words with them at live shows.

"That part is pretty neat because it was a risky thing to do to bring something new into the picture," Austin said. "But with each show, we try to do the best we can, letting go of anything negative and heading toward a powerful musical experience. When an audience sees us just going for it, having a good time in that moment, that's when it's contagious."

As the last show in the Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series, John Waldman, concert promoter with Great Knight Productions, said the band is a good fit knowing Steamboat's strong interest in bluegrass music.

"Overall, the past two or three years of the series has grown," Waldman said. "We are definitely seeing the concert series as a driver for tourism, and it's been over the past few years, we've been able to up the level of talent and that's bringing more people from out of town to the shows."

According to Waldman, Austin is one of the top bluegrass players around right now and is sure to present another great show for the series.

"We've tried to take this season to a new level with the talent, and our goal is to continue in that mode," Waldman said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1