Nefesh Mountain is at its core a bluegrass band steeped in the Jewish American culture. Their music is inspired by “old time, bluegrass, blues, anything that’s really roots music of America”. At the center of the band are Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg (both sing, and Eric plays guitar and banjo), along with Alan Grubner (fiddle), David Goldenberg (mandolin) and Max Johnson (bass).
The band began as a duo and Eric remembers they “met twelve years ago and became friends and over the years fell in love. The band is a love story between us.” Slowly, the duo became a quartet. Over the years they hired musicians to accompany them and now they have a five-piece band. “The idea is to have a band like Stringdusters or Steep Canyon Rangers or Punch Brothers. A band that doesn’t have interchangeable members but personalities instead.”
Eric and Doni have always played music. Eric started around eleven years old and “played trumpet and sax before I gravitated toward the guitar. I only held one other job in my life in a bagel shop in high school. I can’t seem to do anything other than music.” For Doni it’s the same. She studied theatre at NYU and has been performing her whole life (she plays guitar and other instruments as well and sings in the band).
The couple credits the roots music of America as the inspiration for their songs and are “also pairing elements of our own cultural backgrounds and experiences as Jewish Americans. We didn’t set out to do it, but now that we’re in it, we feel our job is to open up this new world of Americana music by embracing our own culture, which isn’t widely talked about in traditional Americana music. We’re adding our color to the palette of the music and have this platform we didn’t intend on, which is what it means to be a Jewish person in America”.
The band has a musical connection with the Denver Folklore Center that goes way back. Eric and Doni knew current owners Saul (Rosenthal) and Claude (Brachfeld) through the Jewish community in Denver but had visited the store before they bought it. “The store is one of those places if you travel the country and you’re an acoustic playing musical artist, you want to go somewhere where they have these beautiful instruments. I would always try and stop in and buy picks or get some extra strings. I always loved the Folklore Center and lo and behold our friends bought it and are keeping the place alive. What they’ve done with it is great! The last time we were there we did a little Bourgeois guitar clinic, which was a ton of fun. It’s a wonderful store and we need more of them.”
The couple just had a baby in June and aren’t touring this summer. But Nefesh Mountain will have a full tour starting in September and are planning on being back in Colorado in 2022. They’re excited to get back on the road and to see what the future brings. They just released their latest album Songs for the Sparrows - “Our baby was born on Thursday (6/10) and the album came out on Friday (6/11)”. This album was recorded before the pandemic, and you can learn more about it (including videos) on their website HERE.