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AUSTIN BENZING Michigan Made Country Rock  Austin Benzing is a West Michigan singer-songwriter and guitarist


Michigan Made Country Rock

Austin Benzing is a highly accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist hailing from West Michigan, known for pushing the boundaries of musical genres. His original compositions showcase a diverse range of influences, resulting in a unique blend of Michigan-made country-infused progressive rock that captivates audiences of all ages and musical tastes.

Benzing's exceptional talent is complemented by the skilled musicians who make up his full band, a collective of fellow genre-defying artists based in Michigan. Among them are Loren Kranz, Jeremiah Wenger, and Devin Anderson, each contributing their distinctive styles to create a dynamic and vibrant musical landscape. 

Having grown up on the outskirts of the Manistee National Forest, Austin Benzing's musical journey began at the age of 10 when he first picked up a guitar. Inspired by a wide range of musical icons, from classic country legends like Buck Owens and George Jones to heavy metal titans such as Metallica, he quickly honed his craft with the determination to leave his mark on the music world. As his musical horizons expanded to include artists like bluegrass virtuosos Punch Brothers, jazz guitarist Julian Lage, and the innovative jam band Umphrey's McGee, his songwriting ventured into numerous projects and genres.

Notably, Benzing is a prominent member of the acclaimed West Michigan band, The Turnips, and an active collaborator in the Avocadsquad collective. He was also a key figure in the Balsam Brothers, a well-known "aggressively happy" progressive rock ensemble that originated at Ferris State University and produced two acclaimed records. Benzing's musical journey further extends to his involvement with the Michigan country band Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, various bluegrass trios, and the Bluewater Kings Band. Additionally, he curates and leads a classic two-hour Grateful Dead Tribute Show by special request, showcasing his versatility and dedication to the craft.

Acknowledging his deep affinity for country music, Benzing's solo project, the 2021 full-length release "Steady Your Nerves," is a testament to his passion. This twangy album features classic country harmonies, electrifying instrumentals, and powerful rock-infused moments. "Steady Your Nerves" boasts eight tracks that explore the rich tapestry of country music, with contributions from talented musicians such as Joe Hettinga and members of The Turnips, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, and others.

In his most recent EP, "Live from Dogtown," released on November 18, 2022, Benzing showcases his original compositions in a live setting, recorded at Dogtown Studios with the expertise of Robby Fischer and Michael Dause (The Accidentals) and mixed by Devin Anderson. This EP is available on all major streaming platforms and exemplifies his dynamic live performance prowess.

Beyond his musical pursuits, Austin Benzing finds solace in nature and dedicates his time to working on guitars. He currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he continues to make a significant impact on the local music scene and beyond.

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Review for Steady Your Nerves (2021)

What Stands Out:

Austin Benzing drives the bus in his debut release as a band leader, “Steady Your Nerves,” showcasing another side of his artistry heard in groups The Turnips and The Balsam Brothers. Riding on this bus for eight tunes traveling the spectrum of country music are members of The Turnips, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, and keyboardist Joe Hettinga (May Erlewine, The Ollam, Marcus Rezak). Stops on the journey feature ripping guitar solos over driving rock beats, unexpected styles decorating the walls of each track, and a gleeful interpretation of a classic American style. There’s grit, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and a whole lot of soul behind this record; you can feel the fun this band had in the studio.

Digging Deeper:

“Steady Your Nerves” feels like a challenge to Austin’s creative process, reminding him to stick to his guns and fearlessly ride this horse into the wilderness. He takes great care to blend the authentic country sounds and tropes with his own artistry, celebrating the genre while adding his voice confidently overtop.

Perfect For:

For classic and current country fans alike, folks looking to throw down in the Michigan hoedown and take brief trips outside of expectations. – Dutcher Snedeker

AUSTIN BENZING Michigan Made Country Rock  Austin Benzing is a West Michigan singer-songwriter and guitarist Steady Your Nerves Cover
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