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Mile Twelve

  • February 20, 2022
  • Buskirk-Chumley Theater
  • 114 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47408
  • (812) 323-3020
  • 8:00 PM
  • $25-$30

Although their sound is rooted in traditional bluegrass, Mile Twelve surveys a broader landscape on their newest album, City on a Hill. All five band members bring their own influences and observations into the music, resulting in a project that feels contemporary, thoughtfully crafted, and relevant.

"Original bluegrass music, written and played by young people, is very much alive," says band member Evan Murphy. "I hope people take away that songwriting and arranging really matter. It's about the material and playing it in a way that feels honest. This album isn't political in the sense that we're beating people over the head with anything, we just tried to tell stories that feel authentic."

The album title alludes to the idealized imagery of a shining city on a hill – a historical phrase that has often been applied to Boston, where the band got its start. Murphy adds, "We realized that many of the characters in these songs were in crisis, had been failed in some way, or were failing themselves. It's an unintentional theme but it came out in the songwriting."

The Mile Twelve lineup offers five of the most promising young musicians in bluegrass: Korey Brodsky (mandolin), Catherine "BB" Bowness (banjo), Ella Jordan (fiddle), Evan Murphy (guitar), and Nate Sabat (bass). All are credited as songwriters because everyone in the band helped shape the material throughout the writing and arranging process. Murphy and Sabat initiated most of the lyrical ideas for City on a Hill. "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 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.

Asked about the band’s influences, 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 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.

These influences shine through in City on a Hill, but at the core the album is a representation of the band’s emerging voice. “We decided to record this album as live and authentically as possible,” Murphy says. “There was no metronome, no filler material, no smoke and mirrors. It was very real, you know? We all feel that the end result is an honest statement of who we are.

Doors open at 7pm for this reserved seating event. The estimated length of the show is 100 minutes. Wearing a mask is required indoors in Monroe County. Vaccine verification or negative covid test results within 48 hours required to enter the venue. COVID Policy FAQ.

Mile Twelve