Nashville singer-songwriter remembers Marin’s childhood in new single
As a teenager, singer-songwriter David Austin was inspired by the poetry of Bruce Springsteen’s early hymns about coming of age in New Jersey’s working-class urban grit. In his new single, ‘Cut Hunting’, the 25-year-old musician explores the same themes as Springsteen – young people seeking freedom and independence in an adult world – only Austin’s ode to adolescence springs from his memories of growing up in the idyllic natural landscapes and safe suburban streets of wealthy Marin County.
“We’ve had bands like Journey and Train and the Grateful Dead and a lot of other bands that came out of Marin, but I don’t know if I can say a lot of them wrote strictly about Marin in a kind of poetic narrative style,” he says over the phone from his home in Nashville. “I kind of wanted to do that about how I grew up in Marin. It’s an absurdly beautiful place. I said, ‘I need to write about this. It’s my childhood.
As a child, Austin lived in Ross and began playing guitar and singing in student bands at Marin Country Day School.
“It was a great starting point,” he says. “It was a very open and free contemporary music program with rock and world music. In middle school I started playing classic rock and guitar, and being able to be in the school band and play AC/DC and Boston at school gigs was super cool. It got me going.
When he was 14, he went to boarding school on the East Coast and started writing original songs. During vacations and through the summer, he would come back to Marin, reunite with his old running buddies, and experience a kind of teenage culture shock.
“Living Two Lives”
“I felt like I was living two lives, going to a super strict boarding school with all these rules,” he says. “You had to check in by 11 p.m. on Saturday night. There wasn’t a lot of partying. And then I would come back to Marin and it would be, ‘Oh my God, you’re out until 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.’ It was crazy.”
Where Austin and his pals went and what they did at those crazy weekend parties is what ‘Cut Hunting’ is, a mix of truth and fiction. The title comes from a slang phrase he overheard a friend use to describe driving and finding secluded places and hidden corners of the county to do what young people do when their parents and teachers aren’t around. not here. The name of the lyrics verifies Phoenix Lake as a particularly nice place to “get down”.
Thinking back to his teenage years, Austin fondly recalls that he and his young pals were fans of Bay Area rappers E-40, Too Short and Mac Dre, who rhymed about an urban subculture that was outside of the experience. of the average sailor. child. In a memorable line from “Cut Hunting,” Austin sings, “Well, I know I’m just a white Marin boy. I had redwood dirt smeared on my skin.
After high school, Austin earned a music degree from the University of Southern California and lived in Los Angeles for a few years before a chance meeting in Marin led him to move to Nashville. He was playing on a bench near the College of Marin when Novato restaurateur and songwriter Robin Lindsey overheard him and put him in touch with his brother, the Nashville country music producer, Chris Lindsey.
“He’s definitely the real deal,” says Robin Lindsey.
A singer-songwriter who plays acoustic guitar, Austin has spent the past year recording a dozen new songs in Lindsey’s studio for a second album, “Carolina Blue,” which will be released in early summer. This follows an eight-song debut track, “Southwood Waltz”, named after the street in Ross where he and his family lived when he was growing up.
Sidelined for much of the past two years due to the pandemic (he’s recovered from two bouts of COVID-19), Austin and his four-piece band kick off a Northeast tour in February . He will be in the Bay Area on February 19 for a concert at The Brick & Mortar in San Francisco.
Austin was back in Marin a few weeks ago to shoot a music video for “Cut Hunting” which will be released on January 28, the same release date as the single. You can pre-register it at lnk.fu.ga/davidaustin_cuthunting.
In Nashville, he made a living playing in bars and clubs, including a regular gig at the downtown Cambria Hotel, and writing songs for himself and other artists. The success of guitarist singer-songwriters like John Mayer and Dave Matthews gives him hope that he’s on the right path as a songwriter, and he’s convinced Music City is the place to be. him at this nascent stage of his career.
“No one will take me seriously if I don’t write my own songs,” he says. “You can make a living as a cover artist, but that’s not the dream. The dream is to be my own artist and create something new.
Contact Paul Liberatore at [email protected]