Stuart, Chris


  • From San Diego, California. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Twice has won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest,
  • His songs have been recorded by such artists as Suzanne Thomas, Claire Lynch, Sally Jones, Salamander Crossing, others.
  • Plays banjo and guitar. A former member of the New York-based band Cornerstone.
  • Has a degree in Medieval History.
  • 1996, moved to San Diego to work as a computer consultant for a tech firm. Played in a local band called Highway 52.
  • 2002, formed his own band called Backcountry and in 2003 went full-time with the band.
  • 2003, released Saints and Strangers album (Backcountry).
  • 2004, released Mojave River album (Backcountry).
  • 2005, band includes banjo player Janet Beazley (formerly of Copperline) and Paul Lee (formerly of Open Road.)
  • 2006, performed in Oman (middle east, south of Saudi Arabia).
  • 2007, Eric Uglum joined the band (mandolin/guitar) along with stepsons Christian (fiddle) and Austin (bass) Ward.
  • 2008, released Crooked Man album (Backcountry).
  • 2009, co-produced the IBMA awards show and won the award for Song of the Year (“Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away” recorded by Danny Paisley).
  • 2011, began working as a duo with Janet Beazley.
  • 2011-2013, wrote a regular column for Bluegrass Today. He also is a frequent contributor to Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine.
  • 2012, 2013, produced the IBMA Awards Show.