2016 Podunk Band Competition Winners
Mile Twelve is a fresh, hard driving young band beautifully walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances in bluegrass and folk circles, Evan Murphy, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Nate Sabat, BB Bowness and David Benedict write captivating songs and daring instrumental pieces from diverse influences. Banjo luminary Tony Trischka says, “Mile Twelve is carrying the bluegrass tradition forward with creativity and integrity.”
Since their formation in the fall of 2014, Mile Twelve has quickly been on the rise. They released their debut 6-track self titled EP, and performed extensively throughout the U.S., Ireland and Canada, including several major festivals; Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, FreshGrass Festival, Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival and Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. A track from their debut EP was featured on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction’s “Hand Picked with Del McCoury”, while another track was featured on Spotify’s “Fresh Bluegrass” 2015 playlist. That same year, they were selected as formal showcase artists at the North East Folk Alliance. The summer of 2016 has held more milestones for this young group: opening for Tim O’Brien at the Station Inn in Nashville, winning the Podunk Bluegrass Festival Band Contest and being nominated for a Momentum Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association and adding a fifth band member: mandolin player David Benedict. This winter they will be heading into the studio in Nashville to record their debut full-length album with producer Stephen Mougin at the helm.
“In recent years, Boston’s Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory have added extra fire to that city’s already churning cauldron of traditional string players. Out of this spicy soup jumps Mile Twelve, a group of four accomplished bluegrass musicians who write, sing, and play like the wind. Serious players who have serious fun, Mile Twelve is a group to watch in the coming decade.” – Tim O’Brien
“Mile Twelve has Bluegrass’ best interests at heart. Really good songs that mean something, picking that makes you grin and twitch, plenty of scalp-zinging moments… what more could you ask for America’s best drivin’ music? I’d be fine sending this to aliens.” – Darol Anger
“Mile Twelve’s instrumental skills reflect natural abilities enhanced by serious study of bluegrass tradition and a fearless desire to create fresh pathways. From the opening number of their new EP, it’s plain that their vocal skills are equal to their picking prowess. Their trio blend is as tight as it gets. Their duo and solo singing is equally praiseworthy. The arrangements often surprise with subtle twists and turns… delicious false endings, dropped beats, arco bass and fiddle duets, and on and on. Mile Twelve is carrying the tradition forward with creativity and integrity.” – Tony Trischka
Evan Murphy has been a creative force on guitar and voice in New England since he picked up the guitar at age 18 and began accompanying himself on traditional bluegrass songs. Raised in Milton, Massachusetts, Evan received a bachelors degree in Theater and Music at Boston College in 2012. During his four years there he played in a folk band and began songwriting. A year later he moved to New York City, where he formed a bluegrass quintet called Tenafly Rye that performed throughout the city. While he was in New York he studied bluegrass guitar and voice with Michael Daves and classical guitar with Jason Sagebiel, director of the New York City Guitar Orchestra. Now a resident of Boston again, Evan is sinking his teeth into its vibrant acoustic music scene and has been busy teaching, recording and performing throughout New England.
Native New Zealander, Catherine (BB) Bowness started playing the banjo at the age of 12 after hearing a friend play the beverly hillbillies theme song. A few years later, BB received the Frank Winter memorial award at the Auckland Folk Festival allowing her to travel to the USA, where she studied with banjo players Tony Trischka, Alan Munde and Noam Pikelny. In 2009, she became the first banjo player accepted to the New Zealand School of Music, graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Perfomance. BB was selected to attend the 2013 Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar, studying with world-class artists such as Julian Lage, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger. She won first place at the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo Contest and currently keeps busy recording, teaching and performing throughout New England.
A graduate of the voice program at New York City’s renowned LaGuardia High School, Nate Sabat’s musical roots are in choral singing. He started playing bass just before he began at LaGuardia, and, years later, was accepted to the Berklee College of Music as an upright bass principal. There, he has made it a goal to delve into the thriving Boston acoustic music scene, inside and outside of Berklee. To date, he has performed, worked and studied with artists such as The New York Pops, Kronos Quartet, Eugene Friesen and Bruce Molsky. This winter, he was chosen to be one of sixteen young acoustic musicians to attend the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar in April, and work with artists such as Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall, and Chris Eldridge. Since graduating Berklee, he plans to stay in Boston to continue to perform, record, and compose.
Bronwyn Keith‐Hynes is a Boston-based musician originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. Accepted on scholarship to Berklee College of Music at age 16, she graduated in 2013 with a Professional Diploma in Violin Performance and is fast gaining recognition for her fiddling across bluegrass and acoustic music circles. Bronwyn has performed with Peter Rowan, The Milk Carton Kids, Anais Mitchell and Tony Trischka, among others. In 2014 Bronwyn won first place in the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship in Winfield, KS and in 2015 won first place in the Freshgrass Fiddle Contest. Bronwyn has been on staff for the last two summers at Berklee College of Music teaching string lessons at the Five Week Program. She also teaches throughout the year in Boston and world-wide via Skype.
Originally from Clemson, South Carolina, mandolinist David Benedict is a performer, composer, and instructor seeking to blend tradition and innovation through his music. In 2013, he graduated with a unique degree in mandolin music performance from Bryan College in Tennessee, where he studied with Grammy-nominated mandolinist Matt Flinner. Since then, David has played at venues, festivals and events across the southeast including Savannah Music Festival, the Greenville, South Carolina, TEDx Conference-sharing the stage with such musicians as Casey Driessen, Julian Lage, Mike Marshall, Tim O’Brien, Tommy Emmanuel, and others. After performing for two years as a member of the Nashville band Missy Raines & The New Hip, David is now based in Boston, MA playing with time with Mile Twelve and teaching mandolin lessons at home and abroad.