I first came to hear of Chicago’s Umphrey’s McGee from my roommate in Americorp. He was from Indiana and all we pretty much had in common was music and drinking. He kept talking about this band with a funny name and though we had long given up on the jam band scene – too many hippies, too many drugs – we still dig on the music and figured why not give a listen to Umpphrey’s. To say the least we were impressed. More jazzy than moe., better song writers than String Cheese, more adventurous than a lot of bands churning out hit songs by the week.
We’ve been digging on Umphrey’s McGee’s latest disc, The Bottom Half for a little while now. It’s mostly a collection of unreleased tracks, outtakes, b-sides, and alternative takes on tracks from their stellar 2006 effort Safety in Numbers. Their latest double-disc streets tomorrow. Grab it if you can.
The first disc contains ten tracks that didn’t make the final cut for Safety and the second disc is 26 tracks of flotsam and jetsam. We like them equally and it makes for a nice bookend to Safety in Numbers. The double dip is chock full of funky jams, slinky instrumentals, jazzy tunes, great harmonies, even some a capella. The Chicago based jamband will have the honor of singing the National Anthem for the hometown White Sox today and here’s hoping they do it a capella style. They just don’t give out the honor of playing the MLB opening day National Anthem to just any scrubs off the street.
For those not in the know, Umphrey’s McGee is a six member outfit, consisting of Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals), Jake Cinninger (guitar, Moog, synthesizers, vocals), Joel Cummins (keyboards, vocals), Andy Farag (percussion), Kris Myers (drums, vocals), and Ryan Stasik (bass, no vocals). The guys have been touring pretty much non-stop since its inception in 1998. They’re music speaks for themselves.
After playing for the White Sox, they guys will head back onto the road. Complete tour dates and a few tracks from their latest release after the jump. Get out and catch them if you can.
April 03 Iowa Memorial Union Ballroom Iowa City IA
April 04 The Blue Note Columbia MO
April 05 The Pageant St. Louis MO
April 06-07 Egyptian Room – Murat Centre Indianapolis IN
April 11 Calvin Theatre Northampton MA With Brothers Past
April 12 Avalon Theatre Boston MA With Brothers Past
April 13 Nokia Theatre Times Square New York NY
April 14 9:30 Club Washington D.C. With Brothers Past
April 15 Water Street Music Hall Rochester NY
April 17 The Opera House Toronto Ontario
April 18 Penn’s Peak Jim Thorpe PA
April 19 The Town Ballroom Buffalo NY
April 20 Newport Music Hall Columbia OH
April 21 The Vic Theatre – Green Apple Music and Arts Festival Chicago IL
April 22 Lincoln Park Zoo – Green Apple Music and Arts Festival Chicago IL
May 02-03 The Workplay SoundStage Birmingham AL
May 04 House Of Blues New Orleans LA
May 05 Granada Theatre Dallas TX
May 06 Beale Street Music Festival Memphis TN
May 25-27 Summer Camp 2007 Chillicothe IL
June 02 Mountain Jam Festival Hunter NY
July 18-21 10,000 Lakes Festival Detroit Lakes MN