Although their sound is rooted in traditional bluegrass, Mile Twelve’s performances bring a broader landscape. All five band members bring their own influences and observations into their music, resulting in bluegrass band that feels contemporary and relevant. On Saturday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m., they will fill the historic Opera House in Boothbay Harbor with their sound and stories.
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).
“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.”
The group has received multiple IBMA Momentum Awards, presented by the International Bluegrass Music Association to emerging bluegrass artists. Mile Twelve won the band category in 2017, shortly before releasing their debut album, Onwards. The following year, 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.
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 band influences. 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.
Advance tickets, $20, are available through the box office at 86 Townsend Ave., by calling 633-5159. Regularly priced $25 tickets at https://boothbayoperahouse.com
All seats are general admission. Doors open at 7 p.m. All ticket holders must show proof of Covid vaccination, or a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of arriving on the night of the concert.