Best known as the frontman for multi-charting post-grunge stalwarts Blue October, Justin Furstenfeld was born in Houston, Texas and attended the city's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He started the rock band the Last Wish in the late '80s while in his early teens, and they released two albums, 1993's Rooftop Sessions and 1995's The First of February. The group disbanded in 1995, and Furstenfeld formed Blue October in 1996 as lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, with guitarist Brant Coulter, violinist Ryan Delahoussaye, bassist Liz Mullaly, and his brother Jeremy Furstenfeld on drums. The quintet released its debut, The Answers, in 1998 on RoDan Entertainment/Scoop Records. After signing with Universal, and with Matt Noveskey replacing Mullaly on bass, Blue October issued Consent to Treatment in 2000. History for Sale followed in 2003 with C.B. Hudson replacing Coulter, and a live CD/DVD package, Argue with a Tree..., was released in early 2005, after 18 months of touring.
Their breakthrough album, Foiled, arrived in 2006 and reached the Top 30 of the Billboard 200, going platinum a year later. Yellowcard came in 2007, and Approaching Normal, which peaked at number 13, followed in 2009. The tour in support of the album was cut short due to Furstenfeld's eventually openly discussed mental health issues. The band came back with two albums in 2011, Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October (recorded live in Austin, Dallas, and Houston) and the darker Any Man in America, which was made during Furstenfeld's divorce and loss of child custodial rights. After his seeking treatment including rehab, the group's PledgeMusic-funded Sway charted at number 13 in 2013. His first solo album, Songs from an Open Book, was released in the fall of 2014 and hit number 45 on the Billboard 200 while topping the Billboard Folk Albums chart. The live album features an intimate performance with only vocals and guitar, including stage banter with anecdotes about recovering from his family upheaval and substance abuse, and going on mood stabilizers. ~ Marcy Donelson