Bluegrass meets innovation when Mile Twelve, winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2017 Momentum Awards, performs at the Holly Inn in Mount Holly Springs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27.
With clever songwriting and tight arrangements, Mile Twelve has propelled itself to the forefront during the three short years the band has been together. Whether it’s at bluegrass festivals or on international tours, the band has a youthful energy and virtuosity that wows audiences and appeals to all age groups.
Mile Twelve formed in Boston where three of the five members had been studying at Berklee College of Music. Featuring Evan Murphy on guitar and lead vocals, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes on fiddle, Nate Sabat on bass, B.B. Bowness on banjo and David Benedict on mandolin, the band does a good job of walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass.
The band’s repertoire features some old favorites such as “Jack of Diamonds” and “Deep River Blues,” but it also pulls in some fun covers such as the Allman Brothers’ “Rambling Man.” The band is more and more often writing its own material — much of its songs showcase Murphy’s powerful voice and the groups’ fabulous harmony singing.
While bluegrass originated in the United States, countries throughout the world also have their share of great bluegrass musicians. Once such musician is the band’s banjo player, Bowness, who comes from New Zealand. Bowness started playing the banjo at the age of 12 after hearing a friend play “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song. She won an award at the Auckland Folk Festival, which allowed her to travel to the United States, where she studied with banjo players Tony Trischka, Alan Munde and Noam Pikelny. Now she lives in Boston where aside from playing with the band, she keeps busy teaching and recording.
This past October, Mile Twelve released its first full length CD, which features mostly original music. The CD was recorded in Nashville where the band was thrilled to work with producer and engineer Stephen Mougin, the producer for for Sam Bush and Becky Bullard. The CD features a collection of well-crafted, memorable vocals and instrumentals, skillfully arranged to show off the band’s playing abilities. The CD was funded with a Kickstarter campaign through which 300 backers contributed nearly $19,000.
Mile Twelve has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, including appearances at major festivals, such as Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, FreshGrass Festival, Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival and the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. Its music can be heard on the Bluegrass Junction Sirius XM channel, and its version of the Stanley Brothers hit “Our Last Goodbye” was featured on a Spotify “Fresh Bluegrass” playlist.
The Holly Inn is located at 31 S. Baltimore Ave., in Mount Holly Springs. The cost of the concert is $20, and tickets are available at the door. For pre-performance dinner reservations, call 717-486-3823.