Homegrown Talent on the Mile

I got goosebumps watching Bridger’s set at the Appleton Beer Factory on Friday (definitely not due to the chill in that steamy air).

I just loved watching the young, four-member group up there on stage wowing a packed crowd at a music festival that grew up along with them. I’ve known singer/guitar player Jack Coughlin since the day he was born. (Literally. He and his parents Cindy and Sean were just leaving the hospital with him when my husband Vince and I arrived to have our daughter Molly. I can’t tell you how much Jack and Molly love hearing this story Every. Single. Time. we all run into each other.) I’ve known his parents for more than 40 years, so I am extra thrilled to see Jack living a dream young people growing up in a less musically-inclined city might never have dared.

Mile of Music doesn’t just showcase talent, it also inspires it. Eight years in, we’re now seeing performers that were just kids when the festival began. How cool is that?

Bridger began as the Accords, a band with the kind of up-tempo, toe-tapping country feel that makes you want to both listen to the lyrics and dance along. They got their first paying gig during their sophomore year of high school, hosted by my high school classmate Tim Oates.

(I know this because I ran into him during one of Bridger’s Mile of Music sets and I said, “These guys are so good! Have you heard them?” and Tim said, “I’ve heard them about a hundred times. In fact, I hired them for their first gig to play at my son Alex’s birthday party.”)

The band, which orginally included Graham Tougas, Will Cole, Sam Knott and Maddie Vanden Heuvel along with current members Jack Couglin and Adam Drees, has evolved since their early days and now includes Brett Skenandore on drums and lead vocals and Paul Sagraves on bass. Adam plays lead guitar and banjo.

With just Jack and Adam left from the original band, they changed their name this past winter from the Accords to Bridger and will be releasing new music under their new name in the coming months.

In the meantime, you can find the Accords on Spotify and you can add them to your playlists from there.

You can also check out their website to read more about them and to follow their schedule for more live performances.

I genuinely thrilled to have seen them perform live and I look forward to their upcoming releases.

Thank you to Mile of Music for giving musicians such a supportive platform and music lovers so many opportunities to discover new talent.

I really loved seeing the band perform at the Appleton Beer Factory during Mile of Music. I enjoyed their performance so much…
…I saw them again at the Radisson Ballroom.
They played to a packed house at both venues.
How cool to know that these talented musicians who performed six sets at Mile of Music began their musical careers as …
…this sweet kid, Jack, practicing piano and entertaining his cat…
…and this adorable guitar player, Adam, jamming with his uncle.

6 thoughts on “Homegrown Talent on the Mile

  1. Kathy, yes – such a small world! Ironically, we moved to Appleton exactly 7 years ago because XHS football practice started the following Monday and Adam was a sophomore. He walked downtown with some guys from the team, having no clue about Mile of Music, and was like “Mom, there are people all over and bands and it’s super cool.” Crazy that now he’s playing at Mile himself!

  2. And now he’s playing gigs there! That’s so cool! I can’t wait to hear him play!

  3. Pretty sure Colleen sang with the group at their first gig, or one shortly after. Sean called me and asked if she would because none of the boys at the time would sing.

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