Chad Smith
Jeff Austin says this week s show at the Fox will feature some Yonder material.

If you go

Who: Jeff Austin & Friends featuring Nick Forster and Eric Thorin

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St.

Cost: $20

www. foxtheatre.com

Jeff Austin will be busy juggling solo and Yonder Mountain String Band projects in 2011. That’s OK with the local musician, because both sides of his career are taking off.

The vocalist/mandolin player’s kicking off his tour season with Thursday’s Jeff Austin & Friends’ show at the Fox.

The Boulder-centric show features etown host Nick Forster and Eric Thorin. Austin hinted that a few surprise players might also show up.

“It’s 2011 and busy times are here. It’s time to get to work,” Austin said. “This time at the Fox, I wanted to keep it local. We’re going to dig into a whole bunch of different music — you can take the music to some cool avenues when you have a trio.

“It will be a nice balance of old and new, and a cool mix of stuff. I usually don’t play Yonder stuff at these shows, but we’re going to give it a try. And you never know who else might show up at the Fox.”

Austin has a few more side projects in the works. The musician’s playing a few shows on the Bluegrass Ball tour, and he’ll be performing concerts with Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss.

However, 2011 is Yonder Mountain’s year and the local band has a few game-changing plans in play.

For starters, the band just switched management companies. Yonder Mountain’s now working with McLachlan Management International to propel its career to the next level.

“It’s a whole new phase for Yonder, so we have a new management company and publicist,” Austin said. “Our energy is at a pretty high level and the next record will be really important. We’re still packing audiences and the momentum’s at a nice point.

“We’re getting together in the next few weeks to write some new music and flush out new ideas. We’ve turned over the stone and the attitude of the record is underneath it. We’re energized, rejuvenated and excited.”

Yonder Mountain’s also ready to hit the summer music festivals. The local band already scored slots at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the All Good Music Festival and Summercamp.

That’s not all.

Yonder Mountain String Band’s hosting two of its own festivals this summer.

“We’re hosting the 10th anniversary of the Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in Oregon (July 21-24),” Austin said. “We get together with our friends and play music there.

“We also have our Harvest Festival in Arkansas,” Austin added. “It’s gone over really well, so we’re cranking up a real juggernaut of a line-up. It’s a nice way to end the festival season. We’re going to bring in bands we love and some surprises.”

The Harvest Festival takes place Oct. 13-16 in Ozark, Arkansas. The official line-up will be announced this spring.

Yes, Austin plans to keep his solo and Yonder Mountain projects in non-stop mode.

“It keeps me active and it keeps me on point to keep these projects coming,” Austin said. “2011 will be a big year for Yonder. I’ve never had any limitations on where this band can go.”

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