Jake Dugan is an Indianapolis born and based guitarist and singer-songwriter. As a guitarist, he spends most of his time band leading his instrumental JazzFunkBlues project or playing in small jazz combos around Indianapolis. As a singer-songwriter he independently released his first solo single “Enjoy the Ride” in June of 2021 to all major streaming platforms and launched his “Carrollton Sessions” video series live from his home in 2020. Dugan also performs solo and in small acoustic group collaborations (Jake Dugan & Friends) drawing on any number of American and World styles. While “Enjoy the Ride” is steeped in jazz and folk music, Dugan’s catalogue also readily showcases the sounds of soul, bluegrass, blues & reggae.
Dugan cut his teeth playing and singing in former local Indianapolis groups Funky Junk and Flex McKinney from 2012-2019 during and following his time spent in pursuit of a B.S. degree in Music Technology from Indiana University at the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis campus. In his time there he studied both jazz and classical guitar under Sandy Williams, John Alvarado, and Tom Fowler. He has played such notable venues as the Vogue, Mousetrap, Radio Radio, Military Park and more while also being featured at festivals like Summer Camp Music Festival, Indy Swish Festival, Carmel Fest, Mojostock, Good People Good Times and others. He is a current featured artist with the Indy Arts Council and a local musical educator.
Calling Minneapolis home, Kind Country has been instrumental in bridging the gap between the local Bluegrass, Americana, Folk, and Jam-Band scenes to create a diverse and rich blend of musical styles that refuses to fit in a single genre’s checkbox. The high-energy improvisational creative energy of the band’s stage performance infuses their studio albums with the intuitive and nearly telepathic connection they’ve grown famous for on stage. The beaming smiles, joyful laughter, knowing glances, brotherly encouragement, and outpouring of love are so palpable and genuine, their camaraderie leaves the audience begging for more. The ebb and flow of magnetic energy and speed draws the audience closer with each guitar lick, mando pluck, and fiddle stroke.
Kind Country began spreading their kind vibes all over the countryside when they came to life in Mankato, MN back in 2012. The seven-member ensemble features Max Graham (Mandolin/Lead vocals), Brandon Johnson (Guitar), Joe Sheehan (Bass), Chris Forsberg (Fiddle/Backing vocals), Chris Wittrock (Drums/Backing vocals), Mike Hedding (Banjo), and Lee Martin (Pedal Steel), who artfully blend a wealth of diverse experiences, musical tastes, perspectives, and individuality into a colorful tapestry of sound. A full drum kit, expertly played by “Witty,” sets Kind Country apart from the run of the mill bluegrass bands. Not to mention the momentum that builds between Max’s melodic mandolin pickin’ alternating with Chris’ rippin’ fiddle solos, leading to a magical crescendo. Joe thumps low and slow on bass, Lee wails on the slide, and Mike picks the banjo with expert precision. Every musician in the band holds their own with talent to spare. Max’s artful songwriting evokes a broad range of emotions, often drawing from his own life and dreams for the future.
Max Graham describes the overarching theme of Kind Country’s music as “finding beauty and happiness, even when negative experiences and struggles persist. That is a quintessential part of life. You can’t wait for everything to be perfect to celebrate life. Life is meant to be celebrated here and now. Our music is how we make life better.”
Kind Country’s discography includes three full-length albums (Kind Country, Hwy 7, and Hard Times) and an EP (Mountains). Track after track, Kind Country’s albums take listeners further down an energizing and uplifting path to find beauty in the darkness, light at the end of the tunnel, and joy in the hard times. The soul of the musicians’ collaborative synergy sits shotgun as we meander down the dusty trail of life, hitting potholes while simultaneously appreciating rainbows along the horizon. Kind Country’s unique sound takes on a duality of its own, dichotomous in its ability to make a sad song sound happy and a happy song sound ecstatic. Their albums artistically balance catchy numbers that elevate mood and vibrations with energetic barnburner instrumentals, all of which provoke a sea of bodies to move to the beat.
Kind Country has garnered national attention for their unique and optimistic style. Live for Live Music prophetically named them one of the “5 Up-and-Coming Bluegrass Bands Poised to Take Over the Scene.” Kind Country has won several contests and awards including the Minnesota State Fair’s AARP Best Local Band of 2017. They were awarded with the opportunity to support Bruce Hornsby and Lake Street Dive in their first stadium show, where they received a standing ovation from an eclectic audience of mostly new fans who spanned the generations.
These festival and live performance veterans have been playing festivals and venues big and small all over the Midwest for years, developing an especially loyal fanbase in the Minnesota/Wisconsin bluegrass scene. Kind Country expanded their festival footprint in the last few years to the national circuit, sharing stages with Phil Lesh, Railroad Earth, Jeff Austin Band, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Devil Makes Three, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Michael Cleveland, The Steeldrivers, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Lil’ Smokies, Billy Strings, Tyler Childers, Jacob Jolliff, Split Lip Rayfield, Charlie Parr, Trampled By Turtles, Pert Near Sandstone, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Useful Jenkins, The Way Down Wanderers, The Big Wu, Kitchen Dwellers, and a multitude of other phenomenal jam, bluegrass, folk, and Americana roots musicians. They seamlessly meld into the electronic scene as well because of their high energy pickin’, heady jams, and upbeat rhythms that get the whole party moving and shaking.
I am a writer and an artist, a musician at heart. A lot of you who have heard me have only heard the material I’ve wrote for my band The Trip (thetripmusic.com). Take a second to check us out if you haven’t already. This is my solo project consisting of some of my favorite songs that I didn’t feel were right for The Trip.
The songs were first played acoustically for a lot of my close friends, sitting around bonfires singing happy songs I’ve wrote or just hanging out and putting music in the air. This is where all of my friends convinced me that these are really great songs and I should do something more with them. At first, I didn’t want to divert focus from my main priority, The Trip. But I have since concluded that these are some of my favorite songs I’ve wrote and I want to document them professionally while they are fresh; and share them with my family, friends, and fans abroad.
I hope you enjoy my music and lyrics, the ultimate goal is to make you happy with a song. I feel that is the most powerful thing anyone could do with sound. Even if it is the most simple song with the most plain lyrics, if it makes you happy I feel that the song is a success. And if it does not make you happy I hope you can at least relate to the meaning of the song, and think of a time when you had felt that exact way.
Cyrus Youngman & the Kingfishers is an eclectic collection of young musicians committed to the pursuit of truth outside the constraint of genre. Hailing from Indianapolis, these seven sonic troubadours urge the citizens of earth to wrestle their demons to the ground and then ask them in for a cup of tea. They encourage all of humankind to accompany them in abandoning the show of shadows as they melodiously ascend toward the light of reality.