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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 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 country-fied progressive rock that is guaranteed to excite crowds of all ages and interests.

Benzing's full band consists of other Michigan based genre rebels, such as Loren KranzZach Dubay, Jeremiah Wenger, and Devin Anderson. Marissa Peak and Olivia Vargas of August - the Band also lend vocal talents to create a vibrant music landscape.


Growing up on the fringe of the Manistee National Forest, Austin Benzing picked up a guitar at age 10. 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 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. Benzing also curates and leads a classic two hour Grateful Dead Tribute Show a few times a year, upon special request. 


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, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, among others. 


His most recent EP, "Live from Dogtown" features original songs recorded at Dogtown Studios with Robby Fischer and Michael Dause (The Accidentals), then mixed by Devin Anderson. Released on November 18, 2022, this live tracked EP can be found on all streaming platforms.


When he's not shredding guitar, Benzing enjoys spending time in nature and working on guitars. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Local Spins: Live from Dogtown EP Review >


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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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