A songwriter always seems to have a story to tell. It’s funny how history repeats itself The story of Austin Rife couldn’t be a better representation of this statement. Austin was passed down an old Ibanez guitar from his grandfather, Jim Rife just days after the elder’s death. A few months later, the decision was made by this eleven-year-old boy’s parents to get him guitar lessons with a PA native and guitar master, Jace Hyde. It took time and the young boy didn’t take to music right away. Austin was more concerned with playing football than picking up some old piece of wood. Years later though, Austin found his calling. He started learning punk rock songs, oddly enough playing Green Day and Blink 182 songs but later experimented with crossover songs by Johnny Cash and David Allan Coe. Then, Rife unconsciously realized he was returning to his grandfather’s roots. Once Austin started penning his own songs, he realized the realness and honesty country music is synonymous with fit him like a glove. He then took his talents to local venues playing benefits and open mics. Austin recalls playing at a little open mic with a bunch of older guys in a band jamming to vintage country music: “I think I was the youngest kid in the place by about 50 years but the music was awesome.” Then Austin hit the studio to cut a grass roots demo with an independent York, PA studio called Ted E. Bear Productions with producer, Jeff Hassinger. “It wasn’t pretty at first, but I knew I loved music and that was all that really mattered. If I kept playing, maybe I could make something of myself.” Austin started picking up the pen more and more and wrote numerous songs about life the way he saw it. Two years later in 2012, Rife cut his own fully original twelve song album, “Days Gone By.” This is what brought the senior in high school at the time to landing his own gigs at a local venue called Brookmere Winery. It was small progress but it shaped Austin into the entertainer he is today. “We started out with fifteen people and then thirty the next show and by the fourth or fifth show, eighty people packed the little winery. I couldn’t believe that many people would actually sacrifice their comfort standing shoulder-to-shoulder to hear me play. I didn’t understand it but I liked it a lot.” So Rife kept playing and landing shows at the winery, parties, restaurants, and other local venues. Then, reality hit and Austin realized the music industry wasn’t a legitimate guarantee so he decided to enroll at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC to pursue a degree in marketing. He struggled at first but learned to love the mountain views and the southern hospitality in the little mountain town. He landed multiple shows in Boone. He learned to fit in and find friends who also played music. “I never met a banjo player before and now I got buddies that play the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and upright bass. It’s so cool.” Now the PA native has decided to embark on a new chapter in his young music career. He hit the studio in June with his lead guitarist, guitar teacher, and longtime friend Jace Hyde as well as his producer Jeff Hassinger at Ted E. Bear. Productions. This album is set to be his best yet. Sure the lyrics have gotten better. Sure Rife’s talent has gotten better with time, but Rife attributes the sound of this album to people. “I got great people around me. I have tons of friends and family that constantly give me a story to tell. Jace and me are tight. He has what I don’t. He’s an amazing lead guitarist. Jeff is awesome behind the board and a hell of a musician as well laying down kicking drum beats, clever bass lines, and a ton of other dynamics. This album should be awesome because everyone cares about the music as much as I do. I wrote the songs but they see the vision. I’m a storyteller and an entertainer, not a perfectionist like Jace and Jeff. They have what I don’t, which is what makes this work. I love these guys and wouldn’t want to work with anyone else.” Although the dynamics go crazy in songs like “Whiskey and Wine” and “This Dog”, the meaning comes out in songs like “Carolina Clay” and “The Best of Me.” This album has a way of getting you fired up and in a party mood with one song and then bringing you back to reflect on your life with simple melodies and meaningful lyrics in the next. “Country music is real and tells a story. These songs tell a story of the common person and I hope people can relate to the lyrics because I’m just a normal dude. I just try to tell a story. I hope people can see that and feel it in the music.” Who knows where this album will take Rife and crazy crew of friends and family. No matter where it all leads for this young songwriter, one things for sure: it will be real. This songwriter has a story to tell.