The Jacob Joliff Band
|Shows at the Purple Fiddle
Visit The Jacob Joliff Band on the web!
Jacob Jolliff was born into a musical family in Newberg, OR. His dad started him on the mandolin at age seven and required him to practice ten minutes a day. But after six months of practicing this minimal amount, something clicked, and almost overnight he started putting in several hours of intense practice daily. And this hasn’t really changed in the last 20 years.
Throughout middle school and high school, Jacob picked in a bluegrass gospel band with his father. They played festivals and churches throughout the northwestern United States, and became a staple at the Sunday morning gospel shows. During this time he had the opportunity to meet and play with many of his heroes, including Ronnie McCoury, David Grisman, and Chris Thile. Though Jacob was mostly self-taught to this point, lessons with great players such as these kept him inspired and moving forward.
When he was 18, Jacob was awarded a full scholarship to The Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to Massachusetts to start school in 2007, along with a lot of the other young musicians he had grown up with. There he studied under the late mandolin great John McGann, who was a huge influence. Under John’s supervision, he spent many six-hour practice days working on a variety of styles from bluegrass to jazz to celtic music. In 2008, during his sophomore year of college, he joined the New England based roots music band, Joy Kills Sorrow. Over the next few years the group toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, playing hundreds of clubs, theaters, and festivals. Because of the group’s rigorous schedule, it was a challenge for him to stay in school, but he still managed to graduate in 2011. Shortly after, in 2012, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
In 2014, after three records, hundreds of shows, and thousands of miles in a 15 passenger van, Joy Kills Sorrow went on an indefinite hiatus. Fortuitously, as this chapter of Jacob’s musical journey ended, another important one began. Within a couple weeks of the band’s last show, the young mandolinist got a call from the progressive bluegrass jam group, Yonder Mountain String Band. They had parted ways with their original mandolin player and were looking to try out someone new. Jacob went on his first tour with YMSB in June of that year. He immediately connected musically and personally with the band, and shortly after he became a full-time member. Jacob played with Yonder until the end of 2019, releasing three albums with the group.
Now in 2023, the mandolinist’s main focus is The Jacob Jolliff Band. This ensemble is a group of virtuosic pickers that play Jacob’s original instrumentals, as well as showcase his singing. They tour nationally in the US and have also travelled to Scotland and Australia to perform. The group has released two albums, “Instrumentals Vol. 1” in 2018 and “The Jacob Jolliff Band” in 2022.
In 2022, Jacob was called on by world famous banjo player, Béla Fleck, to tour as part of My Bluegrass Heart. He performed around the country alongside Béla and some of the very best musicians in the genre: Bryan Sutton, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan and Billy Contreras.