The Talent

Joel Young
acoustic guitar - vocals
Member Since August 18, 2010

Joel has been playing and performing in many styles and with many instruments since he was in grade school. His interest in music began when he was very young. In 5th grade he began playing the violin. In 8th grade, he switched to voice. After graduating from North Side High School he attended IPFW majoring in music with a focus on voice, piano and guitar. While attending IPFW, Joel played bass in the IPFW vocal jazz ensemble as well as in local rock bands Blah Blah Blah and Rhino. He also played in the local band ButtonHead for several years recording 2 original albums and playing many venues. Later, playing with the band Amarillo, Joel began playing with some new friends which later became The Joel Young Band. Joel is currently teaching himself resonator guitar and mandolin. He hopes to write and record originals in the near future. His influences range from classical music to today’s country to modern rock/alternative. Some of his favorites are: Mozart, Rush, Sammy Hagar, Vivaldi, Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Hank Williams, Roger Miller, Van Halen, Green Day, Blink 182, Billy Joel, The Eagles and Florida Georgia Line.

Jeff Ude
keyboard - harmonica - vocals
Member Since July 06, 2013

Born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, Jeff graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington and became a sportswriter for the Columbus Republic (IN) for 5 years. Jeff is a self taught keyboardist. He came to Ft. Wayne with a road band and ended up staying. He has been on the road full time for 12 years appearing in such popular regional bands as Overlynd Express, River City Band, Gypsy Circus, Close Range and the Roger Marshall Band. In 2004 he was on national TV on Great American Country (GAC) for 8 weeks in video for a song Hidin in the Wide Open (Google it). Jeff has four children, Nikolette, Zach, Kayla and Kirst

Benjamin Bakle
lead guitar - vocals
Member Since January 25, 2014

Ben began studying music at the ripe age of five years old when he began taking piano. He participated in several competitions where he received superior rankings. Though he played well, it was not his passion. He discovered his true passion after watching a group of friends perform Extreme's More Than Words. Having already picked up guitar, this sent his motivation into overdrive. He studied classical guitar for a period of four years and eventually expanded his playing style to include rock, blues, jazz, and... country. He has since been in several different bands including, The Mystery Machine, Stone Symphony, and iNNER iRVING. While playing with JYB, Ben has been able to step out of his comfort zone and experience music in a new way.

Jefff Degitz
drums - vocals
Member Since December 31, 2021

Bio to come. Meanwhile some happy words from Bob Ross. "Let your heart be your guide. Let's do it again then, what the heck. You can do anything your heart can imagine. Painting should do one thing. It should put happiness in your heart. This is truly an almighty mountain. We'll take a little bit of Van Dyke Brown. Use your imagination, let it go. There we are. The shadows are just like the highlights, but we're going in the opposite direction. Have fun with it. We'll throw some happy little limbs on this tree. Everything's not great in life, but we can still find beauty in it."

Jason Smith
bass - vocals
Member Since February 05, 2022

Jason "Shelf" Smith has been a versatile and prolific member of the Fort Wayne music scene for close to 30 years. During this long and storied career, he's performed as a bassist with Joel previously in Buttonhead from 1999-2004, as a member of the Wailhounds from 2004-2014, alongside Mark Turney in Irish punk band The Mighty McGuiggans, and others. Most recently he's played bass for alt-country singer Rylie Lynn, and jams with nascent yacht rock band The Elevation Station. Not just content to stay in the low end, Shelf also has contributed his talents tickling the ivories, having played keys with local luminary Dave P in SupaBadd in 2007-08, and again with Joel in an early incarnation of the Joel Young Band in 2010. He studied classical guitar and music theory at Ball State in the early and mid 90s under Paul Reilly. On electric bass, he studied under the great Brian Derek. Hobbies include collecting refrigerator magnets and spoiling his 3 cats, Luke, Motzi, & Storm.