Jacob Jolliff was born into a musical family in Newberg, Oregon. His dad started him on the mandolin at age seven and required him to practice 10 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. On Thursday, Sept. 9, Jacob Jolliff and his band will bring their bluegrass music to the stage of the historic Opera House in Boothbay Harbor.
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. During this time he had the opportunity to meet and play with many of his heroes, including Ronnie McCoury, David Grisman, and Chris Thile.
At 18, Jacob was awarded a full scholarship to The Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he studied under the late mandolin great John McGann. 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. Shortly after, in 2012, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
A couple of weeks after Joy Kills Sorrow disbanded, the young mandolinist got a call from the progressive bluegrass jam group, Yonder Mountain String Band. Jacob went on his first tour with YMSB in June of that year. Jacob played with Yonder until the end of 2019, releasing three albums with the group.
Now in 2021, 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. They tour nationally in the U.S. and have also travelled to Scotland and Australia to perform. Over the years, Jacob has had pleasure of sharing the stage with many legendary musicians spanning many genres including Darol Anger, Tony Trischka, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Jerry Douglas, Bryan Bowers, John Popper, The David Grisman Quintet, Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Michael Daves, and many more.
Advance discounted tickets are currently available for $20 through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Ave., or by calling 207-633-5159. Regular tickets are $25 and available on the day of the performance as well as online at boothbayoperahouse.com. All seating is general admission, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the bluegrass getting underway at 7:30.
The Opera House requires all audience members to show proof of vaccination at the door, or to have had a negative Covid test within 24 hours of the performance.