Seth Augustus paid his early dues in the venerable art-punk and experimental music world of 1980s Boston where he picked up a still-healthy ethic of DIY self-reliance. He migrated to San Francisco in the late eighties, where he befriended the elusive guitar wizard Helios Creed, who became a significant musical and recording influence on Augustus. Creed’s approach favors intuition over intellect, and an anything-goes musical inclusiveness that literally opens up a world of possibilities.
In the late 1990s, after a six year hiatus from music, fortune led Augustus to make the most important connection of his creative life. He befriended Paul Pena, the great blind blues-man who penned ‘Big Old Jet Airliner’ and was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, Genghis Blues. Seth became his student, and eventually his road manager, occasional collaborator and, when Pena took ill, his caretaker until the end of his life in 2005. The time in Paul Pena’s company was transformative for Seth Augustus. It was Pena’s encouragement, his advice, his perspective; it was traveling to Tuva and studying throat singing with masters, Chigilchin there, it was learning blues with Pena, learning the blues as something that emanates from inside; it was traveling through Mali and being deeply moved by the musicians there, in short, it was the entire thing, this comprehensive re-immersion into music, that propelled Augustus into the fertile zone he currently inhabits.