Jay Austin
Fiddle
 
Jay Austin started his musical journey in Danville, Virginia, on the border with North Carolina. Growing up in a rich musical environment he started learning violin at age 11 after being captivated by Peter Ostroushko on A Prairie Home Companion. Studying Suzuki violin until age 18 and 2nd violin in the Danville Symphony Orchestra for 2 years, he ended his formal training with Joe Nigro in Lynchburg,Va. He honed his improve and fiddle style playing in church every Sunday and latter busking in Winston-Salem NC, Ashville, NC and Oxford, UK.

After moving to Staunton, VA in 2007, Austin found his way to the legendary local jam sessions at Morino's Lunch, were many local pickers cut their teeth. While studying at BRCC, he continued to play in the bluegrass band Thrown Together in Winston-Salem, NC until 2009. After meeting the talented singer-songwriters Nathan Moore and Bryan Elijah Smith at the Mockingbird Roots Music Hall in Staunton, he went on to record with both. After recording sessions with Moore and Smith on Moore's 'In the Basement' album, and Smiths album 'Pour On Me', he began playing full time with Smith's band The Wild Hearts (of which he was a founding member with Jeff Miller and Smith) from late 2009 until early 2012, being featured on the albums 'Pour On Me' and 'One More Time' . After a year and a half sabbatical he rejoined The Wild Hearts in 2014, starting off the year by playing on Jam Cruise 12 with Nathan Moore's & Bryan Elijah Smith's infamous all night jam The Spot, which featured Smith and a host of notable Staunton musicians, along with participation from many musicians including Steve Kimock and members of Greensky Bluegrass and The Infamous String Dusters.

Drawing inspiration from a broad spectrum, including classical, jazz, bluegrass, Cajun, rock, indie, old time, country, hip-hop and just about whatever you can think of, Austin's style of playing is pleasingly hard to pin down.

Jay Austin lives in Staunton, Virgina. Were he lives in a house built in 1905 and spends time enjoying the beautiful Shenandoah valley, chopping fire wood, collecting random curiosity’s, practicing carpentry and reading any good books that come his way.











 

Jeff Miller
Banjo, Keyboard & Backing Vocals
Performs part time with The Wild Hearts at select shows

Jeff Miller is a classically trained pianist, singer-songwriter, guitarist as well as a VCU graduate with a major in Psychology and minor in music. He picked up the banjo in December 2009 and has not been able to set it down since.

Miller brings a energy to the table that helps drive the sound of The Wild Hearts.  Currently studying Engineering at VCU, Miller will only be performing at select shows.