Mile Twelve is a fresh, hard-driving young band walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Banjo luminary Tony Trischka says, “Mile Twelve is carrying the bluegrass tradition forward with creativity and integrity.” Fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances in bluegrass and folk circles, the group travels to Boothbay Harbor this summer to perform at the Opera House on Thursday, July 11.
The Mile Twelve lineup offers five of the most promising young musicians in bluegrass: David Benedict (mandolin), Catherine “BB” Bowness (banjo), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Evan Murphy (guitar, lead vocals), and Nate Sabat (bass, lead vocals). On their most recent album, “City on a Hill,” all are credited as songwriters because everyone in the band helped shapes the band’s material throughout the writing and arranging process. “We all inspire each other and recognize that everyone has different strengths,” Murphy says. “What makes this band so collaborative is that everyone in the band can do something at a really high level. That’s the balance. We’re all challenging each other.”
Winners of the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association’s IBMA Momentum Award for Newcomer Band with Significant Contribution to Bluegrass Music, the individual members of the band have also been recognized by the IBMA. Keith-Hynes and Benedict secured IBMA Momentum Awards in instrumental categories, while the band earned two major IBMA Award nominations for Emerging Artist and Instrumental Performance of the Year in 2018.
Those kind of accomplishments were far from anyone’s minds when Murphy, Sabat, Keith-Hynes, and Bowness started crossing paths at house parties and pick-up gigs in Boston. In time, they recognized each other as regulars at a Cambridge dive bar called The Cantab Lounge during Tuesday night bluegrass jams. In 2014, they decided to start their own band. By gathering grassroots and industry support, they were well on their way when Benedict, who was living in Nashville at the time, relocated to Boston to join the band in 2016.
The band takes their name from the mile marker that sits at Boston’s southern border on route 93, the city’s main artery. It’s a road sign they’ve passed countless times while heading out on tour. Through an active social media audience and radio support from terrestrial stations and Sirius XM, the band has found receptive audiences across the globe, touring all over North America as well as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Asked about the band’s influences, Murphy cites Alison Krauss & Union Station for their precise arrangements and execution, the Del McCoury Band for their grit and groove, and the Punch Brothers for their genre-bending virtuosity. As for writing, Murphy praises the mastery of Gillian Welch and Jason Isbell for their ability to tell a fully-realized story within the confines of a three-minute song.
For more about the band, visit www.miletwelvebluegrass.com.
Advance discounted tickets for Mile Twelve’s concert are $20 and currently available by calling the box office at 207-633-5159. The Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular tickets are $25 and available online at www.boothbayoperahouse.com and the day of the performance. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the pickin’ starts at 7:30.