Mandolinist Jacob Jolliff has already lived a full musical life, having started playing gospel bluegrass as a kid, gigging around the Pacific Northwest in a band with his dad, heading off to Berklee School of Music on a full scholarship, touring extensively with the group Joy Kills Sorrow and then getting recruited to join bluegrass jam group Yonder Mountain String Band. He’s also leading his own progressive string band now.
Jolliff has performed numerous roles in his bands, using the mandolin as both a rhythmic instrument that sort of sets and drives the beat, and one that executes acrobatic ornamental flourishes, with his right hand strumming out clean and rapid-fire patterns that define the bright color of the music. With his own band, Jolliff puts the spotlight on singing with carefully blended vocal harmonies artfully feathered in and out and delicate dynamics accentuated by the band’s quick-changing proximity to the microphone. There’s some hyper-speed virtuosity at work here. This is a band that has energetic and infectious fun on stage.
The Jacob Jolliff Band performs at Fairfield Theater Company’s Stage One, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, on Friday, Jan. 5, at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $22. 203-259-1036 or fairfieldtheatre.org.