BBH Opera House: Mandolin wizard Jacob Jolliff and his Band

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Jacob Jolliff was born into a musical family. His dad started him on the mandolin at age 7 and required him to practice 10 minutes a day. After 6 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. This mandolin phenomenon comes to Boothbay Harbor to play the historic Opera House on Friday, April 12.

In 2022, Jacob was called on by world famous banjo player, Béla Fleck, to tour as part of My Bluegrass Heart. He performed throughout the country alongside Béla and some of the best musicians in the genre: Bryan Sutton, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan and Billy Contreras. The Opera House brought My Bluegrass Heart to the stage in August 2023.

While just in high school Jacob 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, he was awarded a full scholarship to The Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he studied under the late mandolin great John McGann, who was a huge influence. Under John's supervision, he spent many 6-hour practice days working on a variety of styles from bluegrass to jazz to Celtic music. In 2008 he joined the New England based roots music band, Joy Kills Sorrow. 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.

These days his 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. The group tours internationally, including a swing into Maine this spring.

Bluegrass fans, mandolin fans, music fans – no one should miss this extraordinary talent, alongside his band. Advance discounted tickets are $20 and only available directly from the box office at 86 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor or by calling 207-633-5159. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m., the pickin’ kicks in at 7:30. Additional information available at

Event Date: 

Fri, 04/12/2024 - 7:30pm


86 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
United States