Nick Piccininni Discusses Joining Yonder Mountain String Band as New Mandolinist

Yonder Mountain String Band announced a lineup change on Tuesday. Mandolinist Jacob Jolliff will be leaving the band at the end of this year. His final show will be Yonder Mountain’s New Year’s Eve show at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO.

In a statement, the band wrote, “As of January 1, 2020, we will be saying farewell to our brother and fellow musician, Jacob Jolliff. This comes to you as a deeply considered decision. We are grateful for the music, the memories and friendship we forged with Jake and are in full support of his future endeavors with The Jacob Jolliff Band. We hope to join forces with them down the road.

Joining the fold is multi-instrumentalist Nick Piccininni, who will be joining the band as its new mandolinist. Piccininni, a Central New York native, has been a part of several projects, one of them is Floodwood, which includes mandolinist Jason Barady, who also performed with Piccininni in Woodenspoon, moe. drummer Vinnie Amico and guitarist Chris Eves. Al Schnier of moe. is a former member of Floodwood. Piccininni also performs as a duo with Barady and in a recent project, Follow the Muse.

Piccininni sat in with Yonder Mountain at a few shows this past year, paving the way for his joining the veteran string band. When reached for comment, he told NYS Music that the foundation of this new opportunity has its roots in the Summer Camp Festival, an annual event jointly hosted by moe. and Umphrey’s McGee in Chillicothe, IL each May.

We used to run into the fiddle player, Allie Kral, at Summer Camp in Illinois when we would go out there with Floodwood. She made the suggestion to try me for the few shows I filled in this summer. I guess it went well enough that they felt comfortable with asking me along with this change! I felt really comfortable with everyone in the band and crew. My first show is in Park City, UT on Jan. 6. I’ve never been to Utah so that’s cool.

Photo courtesy Misse Thomas, AzureEyes Photography

Piccininni has every intention of making this a permanent gig while still hoping to maintain time for his other projects.

I will say that on both sides, I think the idea is to get into this winter tour to make sure the fit is right. But they have expressed that their first choice would be to just move forward with me as their new mandolinist. Piccininni continues, “Barring any personality conflicts, which I don’t think any of us really see being an issue if this becomes my main gig it will be tough to maintain everything I already had going. But I do intend to do my best to keep up with it all. Yonder doesn’t play a super intense schedule, so that does leave room for other projects, which is awesome.”

Piccininni’s next performance is with the Amico-Barady Quintet, moe. drummer Vinnie Amico’s annual jazz show at Tiny’s Grill in Utica on Dec. 29.