Bumpin Uglies knows all about hustle. The Maryland reggae-rock band had spent more than a decade on the road, starting with local open mics and backyard parties and growing into road warriors, building an ever-expanding audience with sold-out shows in clubs and prime spots at festivals from coast to coast, on one national tour after another. Then the pandemic hit, and touring shut down.
After being in motion for so long, singer and lead guitarist Brandon Hardesty wasn’t about to sit still, even if he couldn’t be out on tour. In fact, Bumpin Uglies never really stopped working — they adapted. The group returned to playing backyard parties around Annapolis, where they’re based, and added socially distanced concerts and full-band livestreams. In the fall of 2020, they also started releasing a new song every month as part of a project called the Never Ending Drop.
“We felt like prospectors going out and trying to find gold — it was just uncharted territory,” Hardesty says. “We had to figure out a way to make a living. That’s kind of what being a musician during Covid has felt like to me. You can do it, but you have to be bold.”
Hardesty has been bold from the start. He was waiting tables when he started the band in his early 20s. With an ear for melodies and the determination to succeed, he poured his time and energy into making Bumpin Uglies a success. For years, the band did just about everything themselves, from booking shows to releasing their own albums, building a sense of momentum along the way that eventually became self-sustaining, and then Hardesty wasn’t waiting tables anymore.
No surprise, then, that a musician with his strong work ethic found a way to take maximum advantage of the sudden surplus of time at home. For one thing, he got to hang out with his toddler son, and he and his wife welcomed a new baby. He also wrote a ton of songs. For the first time, Hardesty approached songwriting as a discipline, dedicating time to working on new music rather than waiting for inspiration to strike and then jotting down ideas in the back of the Bumpin Uglies van on his way from one gig to the next.
“I just woke up every morning and I made a pot of coffee, and I had this running list of ideas in my phone for hooks and riffs and progressions,” he says. “I sat down every day and made myself write a song, and 85 percent of them were pretty good. And it was awesome. I really, really enjoyed the process.”
Reggae rock singer-songwriter Kyle Smith, from Ventura, California, offers his blend of Southern California style reggae with Ska, Punk Rock, & Hip Hop that is catchy, truthful, and humorous. Kyle's roots come from years of his troubled youth and addiction while living in Long Beach, CA. His songs explain his life as a young addict with songs like “Dope Fiend” and “Jaded” all the while keeping an uplifting spirit and tempo. Kyle is a warrior, and a beacon of light whose goal in life is to give hope and spread positive vibes with his music. His talent is raw, natural, and unforced. Whether solo with his guitar, or backed with a band, Kyle stands tall and proud. With a flash of his smile he immediately warms up the room and invites you into his world.
On 9/24/2021, his first full length album "Lost Cause" was released on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and all other major digital outlets and charted at #2 Reggae Album. Kyle has been touring nationally for years and has recently been on the festival circuit for California Roots Festival, Reggae Rise Up Festival (Florida & Vegas), Mammoth Reggae Festival, and being added to more every month. Kyle has also been featured on internet and radio stations all over the country including, 92.9 KJEE, 91.9 KCSB, Surf Roots Radio, and more.
As for the future, Top 40 domination is inevitable. Kyle’s music is going to spark and inspire a new generation of reggae rock enthusiasts.