Get to Know Nick Piccininni of Yonder Mountain String Band: VIDEO
Nick Piccininni Q&A: Get To Know Nick Piccininni of Yonder Mountain String Band
Nick Piccininni joined Yonder Mountain String Band in January 2020, replacing Jacob Joliff, who had been with the band since 2014.
Yonder Mountain String Band has had some ups and downs over the past decade.
After forming in 1998 in Nederland, Colorado, Yonder Mountain String Band – Jeff Austin, Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, and Adam Aijala – enjoyed incredible success, redefining a genre and growing a loyal fan base. They toured the world and played thousands of shows and festivals, releasing several studio albums and live recordings along the way.
Yonder amassed a huge following and introduced a generation of fans to bluegrass, with their blending of styles and songs, always pushing the limits of how a “string band” could sound.
After Jeff Austin left the band in 2014, Yonder carried on with the additions of Allie Kral on fiddle and Jacob Joliff on mandolin. Austin tragically took his own life in June of 2019.
In late 2019, with the Kinfolk community still heavily morning the loss of Austin, Yonder announced yet another change. Jacob Joliff was departing and was to be replaced with relatively unknown Nick Piccininni.
As we all know, 2020 was not a typical year in music. Now, after Piccininni has been in the band for over a year and a half, many fans are finally getting a chance to see the newest version of Yonder Mountain String Band – and the reviews are amazing.
There is a spark – a fire and energy – that is clearly evident on stage now with Yonder Mountain String Band. The entire band seems to be having fun in a way that hasn’t been seen in quite some time.
Is this transformation due to the year-plus hiatus that all live performers were forced to take, or can it be attributed to a simple change having a larger ripple effect?
Or, is Nick Piccininni himself responsible?
Playing multiple instruments with incredible skill and passion, it is difficult to not think that Piccininni is driving the band in some way. He seems to encourage the best out of each of the other members on stage, and his infectious smile almost forces a good time on all those around him.
Equally comfortable with the banjo, fiddle, dobro, and mandolin, Nick Piccininni helps to create countless musical dialogs between every member of Yonder.
Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that Yonder Mountain String Band seems to have rediscovered a passion that many fans thought had been missing for quite some time, and it is congruent with the arrival of Nick Piccininni.
So, just who is Nick Piccininni? (Jump to Q&A Video)
Nick Piccininni got his start playing bluegrass banjo in several different bands in upstate New York. He played with Black River Rambles and Blue Lightning while honing his skills as a multi-instrumentalist.
While becoming just as comfortable on the guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, Piccininni played with bands like the Atkinson Family, the Delaney Brothers and then joined the Abrams Brothers in 2008, playing banjo and dobro. He toured the U.S.A. and Canada for 2 years with the Abrams Brothers.
In 2013, Piccininni released his debut solo album, The Door’s Open, displaying not only his multi-instrumentalist talents but also his strong singing voice and songwriting ability.
Nick Piccininni is also a teacher of many instruments, offering lessons in guitar, fiddle, banjo, dobro, and mandolin.
In 2011, Piccininni joined a new band, Floodwood. Comprised of many talented veteran musicians, Floodwood immediately gained attention with their progressive bluegrass takes on originals and covers, with fans flocking to their high-energy live performances.
In Floodwood, Nick Piccininni enjoyed the freedom to showcase his many talents, as well as his creative input in songwriting.
While turning heads with his performances, Piccininni also attracted the notice of Yonder Mountain String Band, who had him sit in on several shows before inviting him to join permanently in January 2020.
Now, with Piccininni comfortable playing the Yonder catalog, and offering up some of his own tunes to the repertoire as well, Yonder Mountain String Band seems to be once again hitting their stride.
Piccininni has managed to connect with the passionate Kinfolk fans who have been along for the ride with Yonder for over 20 years. While Yonder has been through some trials over the past decade, they seem to be back on to their upward trajectory.
The current lineup of Yonder Mountain String Band – Ben Kaufmann, Adam Aijala, Dave Johnston, Allie Kral, and Nick Piccininni – will be releasing new music in 2022.
Nick Piccininni Q&A Video
The original members of Yonder Mountain String Band: David Johnston, Ben Kaufmann, and Adam Aijala.
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