Austin Benzing is a West Michigan singer-songwriter and guitarist making a mess in the genre sandbox. His original releases boast a wide array of influences, resulting in Michigan-made countryfied progressive rock with a silver of acid jazz that is guaranteed to excite crowds of all ages and interests. Inspired by classic country and heavy metal influences like Buck Owens, George Jones, and Metallica, it quickly became his focus to make his own mark. As his musical appetite increased to artists like Bluegrass’ Punch Brothers, jazz’s Julian Lage, and the jam band Umphrey’s McGee, his songwriting delved into multiple projects and interests. Benzing is a member of the acclaimed West Michigan band, The Turnips, and the Avocadsquad collaboration collective. He was also part of the Balsam Brothers, a popular “aggressively happy” progressive rock band that came out of Ferris State University and birthed two records. Benzing also plays with Michigan country band, Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, various bluegrass trios, and Bluewater Kings Band.
Conceding that he caught “a touch of that country bug,” Benzing’s solo twangy 2021 full-length release “Steady Your Nerves”, boasts classic country harmonies, searing instrumentals, and some heavier, rock-edged salvos. “My solo album has eight tracks exploring the boundaries of country music,” says Benzing, noting the project features contributions from Joe Hettinga and members of The Turnips, and Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, among others. His latest EP, “Live from Dogtown ” features original songs recorded at Dogtown Studios with Robby Fischer and Michael Dause (The Accidentals), then mixed by Devin Anderson. Benzing’s music can be found on Spotify and other streaming platforms.