Miles Over Mountains, a progressive bluegrass band, will hit the stage Friday during the Fridays After 5 concert series at Harold and Jean Miner Festival Square, 199 S. East Ave., downtown Kankakee.
Events start at 5 p.m. with a bounce house and face painting for the kids. Food is available on-site. Live music begins at 6:30 p.m.
“The Fridays After 5 concert series was something the city of Kankakee and the Kankakee Events Partnership felt was important to have in downtown Kankakee,” said Peggy Mayer, Kankakee Development Corporation executive director and owner of Spotlight Meetings and Events. “It’s a free, family-friendly event and a great way to enjoy music. This event really brings the community together.
“We have a great stage that was donated by the Miner family in conjunction with Peddinghaus. We want to make sure it continues to be used while spotlighting local and regional bands sharing their music with the community.”
Friday’s band, Miles Over Mountains, is from McHenry with band members Sean Shiel, mandolin; Caleb Peter, acoustic guitar; and Phil Hoffman, upright bass.
They derive much of their sound from the roots of traditional bluegrass. They also strive for a more contemporary influenced sound that covers a wide spectrum ranging from delicately delivered, heartbreaking ballads all the way to fast, fierce barn burners.
Miles Over Mountains is known for their unique sound and their musical influences are vast and eclectic.
“Bluegrass is our main inspiration, but we all come from roots other genres like rock, jazz, jamband, reggae, blues, Irish Trad, punk, metal, country and so on,” said Shiel. “Some of our favorites are Greensky Bluegrass, Billy Strings, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Jeff Austin Band, Punch Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, Newgrass Revival, Infamous Stringdusters...The list is practically infinite when I think about it.”
On Friday, event goers can, “Enjoy a heartfelt, high-energy performance focused around our catalog of original music off our first two albums, as well as from our coming third album. We’ll also be fitting in some cover songs that you wouldn’t expect out of a grass band, all served up in our own unique style,” said Shiel.
The concert venue near the train depot will also give their performance a unique vibe.
“The stage and mini-amphitheater setting are really cool,” Shiel said. “Being surrounded on all sides, by the depot, the train tracks, the road and bridge, just all the movement kind of makes you feel like you’re in the eye of the storm. A very sunny, fun and pleasant storm of course. It’s one of our favorite types on venues to play in and we’re stoked.”
He added, “We strive to have folks drive home with our songs in their heads, already looking forward to the next time we come to town. What people take away from seeing us live is our passionate energetic stage presence, our ability to create and deliver this music and our obvious love for what we do and for each other as close friends and bandmates.”
And Miles Over Mountains is no stranger to performing in the Kankakee area.
“We have a lot of history in Kankakee, both personally and professionally,” Shiel said. “I used to perform solo shows in town as far back as 2010. Between myself and now the whole group, we have played at lots of area venues. We’re also very dear friends with local musician Todd Hazelrigg and occasionally play as his backing band under the name Todd’s MOM.”
Miles Over Mountains have two albums, Five Star Heartbreaker and Ballads and Burners, and are currently recording their third studio album set to release in 2020.
“Sometimes an entire song just comes at once; sometimes it gets pieced together over time as it develops,” Shiel said. “Sometimes the instrumental parts come first, and then I write the lyrics to go with the music, sometimes the other way around.”
Shiel shares songwriting duties with Peters.
“Regardless of who writes a song, once we have the basic framework, it’s brought to the whole band, and, most times, it will have ideas added, taken out or reshaped,” Shiel said. “This is where Hoffman steps in on composition, harmonies and arrangement. So once a song is fully polished up and ready to perform, it’s quite literally the product of our collective effort.”
You can check out Miles Over Mountains on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and all popular music streaming sites. For more information, visit MilesOverMountains.com.
In case of inclement weather, concerts are moved to the patio behind the depot.
Friday After 5 concert also gives local food vendors an opportunity to showcase their talents. Each week, different food is served and on Friday, Shonda’z N Daughterz will be on-site with its Maxwell Polish, all beef hot dogs, walking tacos, stuffed burgers and loaded fries or tots.
Future Fridays After 5 show dates include July 12, Tiny Country; July 19, Just Roll With It; Aug. 9, N Deep; Aug. 16, Railway Gramblers; and Aug. 23, Rebecca Rego and The Trainmen.