“I’m a folk musician in reality, it’s people music, it’s about making people happy,” said musician Aaron Austin. And making people happy, he is.

While Austin’s musical journey represents an impressive list of accomplishments, he’s relatively new to the Keys music scene. An old-school acoustic musician hailing from the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, Austin first picked up a guitar at age 10 and by the time he was 20, he was making his living as a professional musician.

Austin is a solo singer/songwriter who plays originals accompanied by his guitar and harmonica – no backing tracks. His biggest influences include Neil Young, Bob Dylan, America and the Grateful Dead. He has shared the stage with Allen Ginsberg during the riots of the ’70s and even opened for Willie Nelson in a 15,000 person amphitheater in 1993.

Success aside, there’s a humbleness to Austin that’s unexpected and endearing. “Now I’m 53 and I’m lucky to be a healthy guy who still has some fire left in his soul,” said Austin.

What initially began as a family holiday to escape the New York weather, soon became an all-to-familiar love affair with the Keys. Austin, his wife and two youngest children recently opted for a long-term holiday relocating to the Keys in November of 2013.

Since “the transplant,” Austin has found himself reinvigorated by his new surroundings and warm reception. He attributes his fresh outlook to a community that allows him to play freely as a musician.

“I can expand my boundaries and play with that bit of confidence in my own head that you can be yourself and as long as you do it with honestly and integrity, people will appreciate that here,” said Austin.

Austin plays like an open book. “I wear my music as a lifestyle and typically, I let the music do the talking… It’s really great to be able to do what I do,” said Austin.

Visit www.aaronaustinmusic.com for a complete list of upcoming shows. Catch Austin next at Castaway Waterfront Restaurant on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 20 at Lazy Days Restaurant in Islamorada.

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