When I caught Boston’s Mile Twelve live during World of Bluegrass in Raleigh this year, there were a number of impressions I came away with.
First off, it was immediately clear that these talented young artists, with the bloom of the music conservatory still on their cheeks, possessed a unique blend of skill, humor, and vision for where bluegrass music is headed. Add in a flair for performing on stage, and it seemed safe to predict that this was a band on the rise.
All still in their 20s, the members had all the bluegrass chops needed to both recreate the original sounds of the style, and add their own songs and arrangements to the mix. Each contributed something to the sound. Evan Murphy on guitar, the band’s lone Massachusetts native, plays guitar and sings with a natural high tenor voice, assisted by Virginian Bronwyn Keith‐Hynes on fiddle, New Yorker Nathan Sabat on bass, and BB Bowness from New Zealand on banjo.
All the members sing at some point in the show, with much of the band’s spark coming from Bowness who is not only a crackerjack on the banjo, but a precious spirit on stage as well. Keith‐Hynes is more a stoic presence, playing dead-on bluegrass fiddle with the posture of a classical maven. Sabat, like so many young bassists I saw in Raleigh, is a trained master of his instrument, far more than the converted guitarist which had often been the norm in our community.
In short, these guys were terrific, but one couldn’t help but feel like they would benefit from adding a fifth piece. I mean, what’s a bluegrass band without a mandolin?
Well, on Thanksgiving day, Mile Twelve announced that they had added David Benedict to the group. The native South Carolinian is moving from his current home in Nashville, fresh off a stint with Missy Raines & The New Hip, to join the band in Boston.
With a full contingent like this, expect big things from Mile Twelve in 2017.
Here’s a live video they have posted, a sprightly version of the Bill Monroe classic, In Despair.