The Margaret Keene video from Mile Twelve

Mile Twelve really is a definitively Boston band. Only one of its members hails from the city, the rest came to either attend school or were drawn by its music scene, like much of the under-30 demographic there.

Young people have flocked to Boston for several generations now, with its large component of colleges and universities, and a fast-moving nightlife and arts community that appeals to their interests. They find the city attractive despite its tight quarters and high living expenses, and many stay on after graduation having fallen in love with the town and the people.

In recent years, since both the New England Conservatory of Music and the Berklee College of Music have opened the door to the study of bluegrass instruments, we have seen that scene explode in Boston as well, with the same dynamic drawing creative acoustic artists to the city, and holding them there in the same manner.

The members of Mile Twelve came to town from all over the US, and beyond. Guitarist Evan Murphy grew up in nearby Milton, MA and came to Boston to study music and theater at Boston University. Likewise fiddler, Bronwyn Keith‐Hynes, moved to town from Virginia to study at Berklee, where she received a scholarship to attend at age 16. Bassist Nate Sabat also studied at Berklee after high school in New York, and banjo player BB Bowness moved from her native New Zealand after getting a jazz performance degree from the New Zealand School of Music, the first banjo player ever to do so. The band’s final member, mandolinist David Benedict, came from South Carolina after being invited to join Mile Twelve.

They have completed their first CD, Onwards, due for release next month, and a video is out today for the first single, The Margaret Keene. And it’s a definitively Boston song, about the seafaring life and one fisherman who aches to leave the sea and stay with his beloved on shore. Intelligently written and skillfully performed, it captures the spirit of the band perfectly.

Onwards won’t release until October 27, but if you catch Mile Twelve in Raleigh next week during World Of Bluegrass where they are official showcase artists, they will have copies for sale, as they will during their pre-IBMA tour going on the rest of this week.

Radio programmers can find the tracks available for download at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.