Stumbling Distance live video from Jacob Jolliff Band

Mandolin aficionados have had their eye on Jacob Jolliff for quite some time. Even as a youngster growing up in the Pacific northwest, Jacob distinguished himself as a strong player, performing with his father’s bluegrass Gospel band.

But it was more modern sounds for the mandolin that really caught his attention. Awarded a full scholarship to attend the Berklee School of Music in Boston, he was exposed to all that was available for the instrument, and worked with progressive string band Joy Kills Sorrow while completing his degree. As soon as he graduated, he proceeded to win the 2012 National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, KS.

After the breakup of Joy Kills Sorrow in 2014, Jolliff got the call to replace Jeff Austin in Yonder Mountain String Band, with whom he toured extensively through 2019. These days, he is writing and performing music with his own Jacob Jolliff Band, where he pursues what you might call 21st century Dawg music, or simply describe as virtuosic new acoustic music.

With him is childhood friend Alex Hargreaves on fiddle, Stash Wyslouch on guitar, and Myles Sloniker on bass.

Like most every ensemble in the world, they have been unable to play live for some time. But they recorded this live video last month, a tune Jacob wrote for his album, Instrumentals Vol. 1. It’s one called Stumbling Distance, and it’s bound to entertain anyone who appreciates high level improvisational music.

The Jacob Jolliff Band still has some 2020 dates that they hope to keep starting next month. You can follow them online.

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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.