New look for Nefesh Mountain in 2019

When Nefesh Mountain starts their spring tour this weekend, they will have some new faces in tow.

Their show will still be based around Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff, and their distinctive mix of original and traditional bluegrass music drawing on Jewish spirituality. The husband-and-wife team also have longtime fiddler Alan Grubner with them in the band, and now welcome newcomers David Goldenberg on mandolin and Max Johnson on bass.

Goldenberg was one of the first mandolin graduates from the Berklee College of Music since they opened the school to traditional string instruments, and Johnson is a veteran of the Nashville scene, having toured recently with Molly Tuttle’s band.

Nefesh Mountain got their start with Doni and Eric performing as a duo in synagogues in the New York/New Jersey region where they live. As singers and songwriters, they had noticed how the rhythms and meter of Jewish liturgical music matched up with old time and bluegrass, and began writing new melodies for some of the ancient Hebrew anthems. Their own original songs followed, and they have since expanded into a full band.

They still perform about half their shows at temples and community centers around the country, where members have warmed to this new way to hear familiar themes. Secular and Christian audiences have also embraced their music, both due to the high levels of musicianship, and Doni’s memorably warm personality on stage.

Here’s a music video they released last year for one of their songs, The Narrow Bridge.

Check the Nefesh Mountain web site to see where you can catch them live this season, including a trip to Colorado in the summer.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.