The Ums

The Ums


The Ums are a melodic powerpop quartet focused on hooks, vocal harmonies, and showing their audience a good time. They draw from blues, folk, funk, pop, the 60s, and fun to make their audiences walk away from live shows with a tune in their head and a smile on their face.


We are the Ums. All of us sing, we all write songs, we all sing the songs we write. We all play different instruments and we like to trade and share during our set. We all smile, we make jokes on stage, we make fun of you and of each other. You wanna have fun? Come watch our shows.

Brett Vaughn and Jesse Ricke met at a party in Tallahassee, Florida in November of 2002, when Brett was singing some songs with his guitar. Brett is a Brit-pop and folk-inspired troubador/songwriter from Sebring, Florida. Jesse is a jazz-trained guitarist from Miami that loves many genres of music. Together they found bass player Ashley Peeples and drummer Steven Gillespie. Steven is originally a percussionist of rudimentary teaching who took to the drum set late in high school. He likes classic R&B, Pop, and experimental electronic artists - any music that's tasty enough.

Ashley had another life and another hometown calling him, and the Ums bid him a fond farewell in or around December 2002 and, the following March, found Alex Zacharias to replace him. Alex is a classically trained cellist who picked up the bass in high school and played along with cds of 90's grunge artists like Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, etc. With this addition, the final Ums lineup was set.

Four artists with widely different musical backgrounds working together: why don't these guys just hate each other? It is most likely because of a shared irreverence for any specific genre. If you see their shows, you can tell that they are the best of friends, and have been for three years.

Do they take themselves serioiusly? Sure. Can you tell? No. What sets The Ums apart is their attitude. They will put in a "wrong" note as a joke, they don't care if it sounds off-putting. They will stray from normal tonality. They will surprise you with sudden genre shifts in the middle of a song. The Ums are devoted to and have fun with experimentation within accessible music. The Ums strive to make every moment of being together as a group and performing for an audience enjoyable, and the result is carefree and truly different music that enslaves the ear.


Bring in the Big demo/EP - 2003
Have a Big Day LP - 2004
Give Me Pause EP - 2006
Men of Science EP - Coming soon!

Set List

We like to begin sets with the sexy, stimulating "Wear Her Out" featuring Brett on the mic. Then we move on to the Jesse's progressive, undulating "Broken Bones." In the middle of the set, Steven will take the mic and charm you with his witty R&B hit, "Drive Thru Lover." After that, Alex might sing his self-concious geek pop song, "Square Dance," if he feels like it. With snappy closers like "Start a War" and "American," people come away with a tune in their head, whether they like it or not.

Our sets typically last 45 minutes, and covers have included:
Bill Withers
David Bowie
The Cars
They Might be Giants