At a party somewhere between Red Rocks and Horning’s Hideout, Jeff Austin and Michael Kang had a moment where they were able to admire the other’s mandolin, without a crowd around them. Retreating to the woods to sit two fallen trees and pick, Jeff and Kang felt fortunate to get the opportunity to talk about mandolins, together, alone. The two men found each other plucking and tuning up. shortly upon nestling into seats aside trees and branches, one with nature.
While Austin may be known for his staying power onstage and in key, his mandolin’s girth combined with his pure, raw energy was eye-popping. For a moment, Jeff Austin got jealous over Kang’s love of Trey’s tone, but Kang played the opening notes to “Sand” and Jeff melted and fell into the groove, letting bygones be bygones in one smooth mandolin jam. Jeff could relax though, he had played with Jon Fishman, which made him more than on par with Kang.
Later, what the night brought was the pair playing the others mandolin. Kang remarked that he was surprised by the weight of Jeff”s mandolin and its shiny finish, while Jeff stared confusingly at Kang’s petit goatee, trying to figure out what purpose it served.
The pair capped off their mutual admiration of each other’s instrument by playing the other’s mandolin, back to back, so as not to look each other in the eye. Because that would be weird. They were last heard playing “Best Feeling”and noodling into “I Know You Rider”, before walking back to their friends, smiling contently about the other’s mandolin.