yonder mountain string band

Mandolinist Jacob Jolliff (left) and guitarist Adam Aijala.

One of the country’s most popular newgrass bands debuts a scorching instrumental from their latest album, Love. Ain’t Love.

Mandolinist Jacob Jolliff’s burning instrumental off Yonder Mountain String Band’s latest album, Love. Ain’t Love, might owe some stylistic credit to past bluegrass masters like Bill Monroe and Sam Bush, but he has a friend with not-so-hot cooking skills to thank for the title. “I had a roommate who was a disaster in the kitchen,” remembers Jolliff. “He set the smoke alarm off multiple times during the course of cooking a meal, and said to me, ‘Man, I just don’t know what to do. It’s like eat in, go deaf, eat out, go broke.’”

What the tune may lack in culinary tips, it more than makes up in sheer bluegrass shred. Jolliff’s machine-gun riffing that kicks off the tune is inspired and forceful. The tune’s changes go by so quick that guitarist Adam Aijala relies on substance over pyrotechnics when it comes to soloing. “Jake’s melodies are incredibly intricate and at this tempo it was a bit challenging to come up with something within those parameters,” says Aijala. “A common approach when soloing over an instrumental tune is to state the melody in a roundabout way while adding your own style and ideas.”

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