Gimme Shelter In Place: Jeff Austin Band Covers Phish’s ‘Waste’ (Alternate Version)
This article was originally published last year as part of JamBase’s Gimme Shelter In Place archival video series. In recognition of what would have been Jeff Austin’s birthday today, it is republished here with slight modifications.
In 2016, following the previous year’s successful Songs Of Their Own Grateful Dead covers series, JamBase launched the Twenty Years Later project that presented bands covering songs from albums released in 1996. Among the highlights of 20YL was a Jeff Austin Band cover of Phish‘s “Waste” from the album, Billy Breathes. Austin dedicated and surprised his wife with the cover of “Waste.”
Sadly, Jeff Austin died on June 24, 2019 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 45. A co-founding member of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin played mandolin with the Colorado-based jamgrass group between 1998 and 2014, when he left to pursue solo endeavors. He formed the Jeff Austin Band and released his solo album, The Simple Truth, in 2015.
Back in 2016, the Jeff Austin Band was in San Francisco for a pair of gigs at Great American Music Hall. While in the Bay Area, Austin and his band mates — banjoist Ryan Cavanaugh, bassist Max Johnson and guitarist Ross Martin — ventured over to JamBase’s former offices to record a Twenty Years Later session. In addition to recording a few “Waste” takes (that he dedicated to his wife), Austin also led the band through his original “Underground,” which was published in 2016 in addition to “Waste.”
While digging through the JamBase video archives, a few alternate versions of “Waste” were discovered. The first take, which the band did not know was being recorded, contained a certain excited energy and rawness typically only found in a first take. We almost went with that version, but instead settled on another “Waste” outtake. A little tighter and a bit more polished, the alternate “Waste” that was chosen features a blistering solo by Cavanaugh, alongside Austin’s nimble playing and emotional vocal delivery.
If you can, please consider making a donation to The Jeff Austin Family Fund. With the blessing of Jeff’s family, watch the Jeff Austin Band’s alternate version of their cover of Phish’s “Waste” below:
[Originally published April 17, 2020.]