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UMPHREY'S MCGEE

Crossover Prog • United States


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Umphrey's McGee picture
Umphrey's McGee biography
Founded in South Bend, Indiana, USA in 1997

The History of Umphrey's McGee (From www.umphreys.com)

Every day more and more people are tuning in and turning on to Umphrey's McGee. And for good reason. Like true sons of the American Midwest, Umphrey's McGee has risen to the upper echelons of the improvisational-rock scene through their seamless compositing of diverse musical influences, from progressive-rock to metal to funk to folk to jazz-fusion to classic song-based rock-and roll, all woven together with infectious melodies, thought-provoking lyrics, pristine harmonies, blistering musicianship, and rollicking grooves that keep dem bones a-shaking throughout the course of their patented sonic sagas. Their latest studio release Anchor Drops demonstrates with undeniable conviction the band's fluency in drawing from a wide variety of styles in the American popular music lexicon.

The band has solidified its reputation through a prolific national touring schedule and gripping performances at such high-profile gatherings as the Bonnaroo Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, and South By Southwest among others. True to their love of improvisation, Umphrey's McGee provides a unique experience with each performance. Everywhere they play, heads turn and ears prick up at the virtuoso playing, the acrobatic tempo changes and rhythmic shifts, as well as the captivating songs themselves. It's like a carnival of sound. "No one," extols Village Voice critic Richard Gehr, "is doing anything else as ambitiously musical as Umphrey's McGee." The attention they command has also prompted Michael Deeds of the Washington Post to call Umphrey's McGee "rock's undisputed lord of sonic shape-shifting."

This growing critical and popular esteem has led to the development of a fiercely loyal following. A burgeoning legion of fans, known alternately as "Umphreaks" and "McGeeks," is distinguished by its rabid burning and trading of live shows via the internet and at various clubs and concert venues, where committed street teams get the word out about the band and keep on spreading the music. The result has been numerous occasions when Umphrey's plays to sold-out houses in towns they've never visited before. The love of Umphrey's McGee music has spawned a volunteer grassroots publicity campaign as successful as that of any national band out there touring.

Devotees of "all cool music," the band identifies The Beatles and Led Zeppelin as primary in...
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Hall of Fame: Class of 2017Hall of Fame: Class of 2017
NOTHING TOO FANCY MUSIC 2018
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it's not usit's not us
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it's youit's you
Explicit Lyrics
NOTHING TOO FANCY MUSIC 2018
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ZonkeyZonkey
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UMPHREY'S MCGEE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

UMPHREY'S MCGEE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 8 ratings
Greatest Hits Vol. III
1998
3.86 | 39 ratings
Local Band Does O.K.
2002
4.11 | 79 ratings
Anchor Drops
2004
3.44 | 39 ratings
Safety In Numbers
2006
3.59 | 34 ratings
The Bottom Half
2007
3.68 | 76 ratings
Mantis
2009
3.05 | 34 ratings
Death By Stereo
2011
3.92 | 47 ratings
Similar Skin
2014
3.64 | 27 ratings
The London Session
2015
3.17 | 14 ratings
Zonkey
2016
3.56 | 35 ratings
It's Not Us
2018
3.00 | 5 ratings
It's You
2018

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.83 | 3 ratings
Songs For Older Women
1999
3.60 | 5 ratings
One Fat Sucka
2001
4.43 | 5 ratings
Local Band Does Oklahoma
2003
4.36 | 14 ratings
Live At The Murat
2007
3.09 | 4 ratings
Jimmy Stewart 2007
2008

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Live from the Lake Coast
2002
4.09 | 4 ratings
Wrapped Around Chicago
2005
3.96 | 5 ratings
Umphrey's Mcgee Live (Soundstage)
2009

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Summer Sampler 2010
2010
4.00 | 4 ratings
Death by Remix
2012
4.50 | 4 ratings
Reskinned
2014

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 It's Not Us by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.56 | 35 ratings

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It's Not Us
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by kurtrongey

3 stars I won't be the first to point out that something gets lost when this superlative live act enters the recording studio. The impressive synergy of the players gets transmuted into something polished but undistinguished. Songs that have been refined over years of performances are drained of their intrinsic appeal. Once again with "It's Not Us," the result is a more than listenable stretch of music that invites less passion in the listener than one would expect.

"It's Not Us" balances between, on the one hand, catchy rock/pop with a funky edge and, on the other, go-through- the-motions prog. Of course it's the proggy side that interests me the most, but the band really hits the sweet spot when they enter hybrid territory that's harder to define.

There are three decidedly proggy songs that take up twenty minutes of the album. Two of them are situated next to each other a third of the way through the album on tracks 5 & 6. "Maybe Someday" traipses pleasantly and expertly through odd meter sections and spacy but thoroughly composed textural passages. It's a very appealing track.

The succeeding "Remind Me," begins as a run-of-the-mill funky jam band number, but it transitions unexpectedly into a hectic dark prog instrumental, reminiscent simultaneously of IQ and of a high-tempo Porcupine Tree/Wilson jam. This section is red meat for proggers and will have many banging their heads even thought it panders a little too hard.

Also of note to proggers is the album-ending "Dark Brush." It sounds like its title, with a distorted vocal verse built on a trudging seven-four and dissonant riffing. The chorus is a grandiose power chord affair with Tom Sawyer filter sweep bass synth that could cause goosebumps. It's a very impressive sound.

Conversely, there are a few conventional pop/rock songs that aim for ear-worm status. I suppose this band doesn't need a hit single to continue its moderate success, but it wouldn't hurt. "The Silent Type," "Whistle Kids" and the domestic bliss ballad "You and You Alone" are reasonable attempts at no-nonsense pop. I couldn't judge whether they succeed on that basis. None of them infected me to want to hear them again and again.

Then there are the tracks that are more difficult to pigeonhole, such as "Looks," "Half Delayed," "Piranhas" and "Forks." Out of these, "Forks" stands out, an exuberant mood lifter with somewhat Jon Anderson-esque lyrics. It's the one place on the album where the band most effectively captures live show energy, while still providing the idealized sculpting expected on a studio album. In my view, "Forks" is the most unqualified success on "It's Not Us."

This is a very talented band with a twenty-year track record. Anybody expecting a magnum opus will be disappointed, but taken as a sampler of what they do, there's a lot to enjoy on "It's Not Us." Still, the album title is true in the sense that the true Umphrey's McGee can only really be witnessed when they're capturing the musical moment in a concert venue.

 It's Not Us by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.56 | 35 ratings

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It's Not Us
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's been quite a while since I last came across Umphrey's Mcgee, having reviewed their third ('Anchor Drops', 2004) and fourth ('Safety In Numbers', 2006) releases, and now here they are back with their eleventh studio album. They have certainly pushed the boat out with this one, as in addition to the standard download, CD, and vinyl, this release offers the most robust deluxe package the band has ever created. Housed inside a leather bound book, the deluxe includes double 180 gram (with an Augmented Reality component), CD, download, bonus 7' EP featuring two unreleased tracks, a 72 page colour coffee table book and more. No, I didn't get sent that, would have been nice though'

I seem to recall that the band originally came out of the jamband scene, mixing blues with country, folk, bluegrass, prog, rock etc. and then taking it out on the road. That they continue to hit the road is evident in not only that they have played more than 2,200 gigs, but the way that the guys all innately know what everyone is doing, even before it takes place. This is music that is so tight that it isn't possible to find any point when the five of them aren't all locked together as one unit. The best way to describe this music is by saying that it is incredibly accessible, and then leaving it to the listener to try and work out what genre any song, or rather any particular piece of a song, actually belongs in. They truly belong to crossover progressive rock in its very truest sense, as they bring in pop sensibilities into just about every style of music going and then making it very much their own. There are some good rules to try to stick to in life, such as not wasting time and money on drinking bad wine and not spending time listening to bad music. That could never be the case with these guys, as the quality is off the charts. Highly recommended.

 Zonkey by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.17 | 14 ratings

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Zonkey
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars Mashup albums are not exactly commonplace in the music world, especially those produced by a single group. Most bands are fixated on producing their own material before parroting others'. Umphrey's McGee, South-Bend's golden boys, have created for themselves a (mostly) positive reputation with their nine current studio releases, and have gained quite a bit of traction in the both prog and jam scene. So they thought, why not: let's release a mashup album. Seems like a pretty good idea to me; the band has shown themselves to be skilled, charismatic and genuinely intelligent on more than one occasion. I was pretty excited when first hearing about it. So excited in fact that I forgot that it even came out until half a month later. So now, finally, we get to see the finished product.

Zonkey's it's name, and it's pretty alright. I've always liked mashups, even if they feature songs that I don't necessarily like but hold name-recognition value to me. This focuses (mostly) more on the rock side of music monoliths, which is much more my forte. Bands that are mashed include but are not limited to: Metallica, Gorillaz, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, you name it. To cover such a wide range of genres, each member of the band contributes vocally depending on what style it is. A notable example of this is drummer Kris Myers absolutely nailing the Hetfield -like, eerily so. Some of the mashups are undeniably better than others. I'm not a huge fan of the Eurythmics / MGMT / Corey Hart 'Sweet Sunglasses', mainly due to personal music preference. Also, a name like that isn't bound to register much out of me (I mean come on- "Sweet Sunglasses"?). However the opener 'National Loser Anthem' is fantastic. Stylistically it was a great idea to start the album out with the eeriness of Radiohead, albeit with a drop of Beck in there. The best part in my opinion of the song is the second half, where 'In The Air Tonight' comes into play with the iconic Roland CR-78 drum beat. 'Frankie Zombie', with perhaps the most odd combination (White Zombie, Pink Floyd and Frankie Goes to Hollywood) is rather good as well. If we're looking for progressiveness, or at least Umphrey's type, then 'Life During Exodus' nearly fits the bill. The reggae of Bob Marley mixes surprisingly well with Frank Zappa's experimentation and the quasi-jazz rock of Chicago.

I would explain more but I believe, in the certain circumstance, that such an explanation would be a disservice to the reader. With such a wide range of genres and talents being covered, the album encapsulates stupidity, quirkiness, skill, all in one package. Is it essential? No, I don't believe so. But I'll be damned if Umphrey's didn't pull it off in a great way.

 The London Session by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.64 | 27 ratings

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The London Session
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Il Bambinello

3 stars A recording effort to show their musicianship giftedness, this album is the result from a 24 hours session in the legendary Abbey Road studios in London (hence the name). I find things here get interesting not only for the experiment but also for the handful of brand new studio songs recorded along with two tracks ("Cut the cable", "No diablo") from the band's previous effort - which I didn't like - rearranged in acoustic version and gaining. The album highlights are "Rocker part II" and "Out of order" (the proggiest songs of the lot) and the disco-rocking "Comma later", along with the instrumental solos of "Glory". I would've spared the new "Plunger", being the original far tighter and less rushed (the only track a sort of race against the clock can be perceived in). I guess the closing "I want you (she's so heavy)" from the Beatles is a due tribute to the recording place's history. Well done. 3,5/5
 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.68 | 76 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Il Bambinello

5 stars At first, though delighted, I thought it was a little less than "Anchor Drops". Some time and listens made me realize that that "little less" is so much more: "Mantis" lets go of the 2004 (fantastic) album pout-pourry and focuses on that never too explored prog side of the band (probably a side more influenced by the early '80s and AOR one than of the glorious seventies). The album starts with "Made to measure", a surprisingly quiet track since UM had always opened with more striking numbers. Very beatlesque, it is followed by the title track that is by far the most progressive song in the sextet catalog, with tempo changes and different moments (from hard rocking to relaxed) that seam quite well thru the 11 minutes length. Nevertheless, the top track here is "Spires", with heavy guitars licks and piano veils introducing an acrobatic track with lots of memorable hooks, exciting moments and a dreamy epilogue providing chills. "Red Tape" is another great track, with lots of stop and go and fun uptempo playing. All the tracks are very good, and I consider this one the best among the UM discography and a very interesting suggestion for prog estimators.
 Anchor Drops by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.11 | 79 ratings

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Anchor Drops
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars If Umphrey's in 2002 was considered doing OK, then Anchor Drops is doing fantastic. This album's a bit of a tie for loose ends hanging out on the prior album, ironing out most of the amateurism and lack of focus that was at all featured on it. The variety of unique instruments don't over-exert themselves and become cluttered nearly as much, giving the band a renewed sound of a seasoned progressive jam band. The dilettante voice of Brendan Bayliss (like on 'In The Kitchen' and 'Walletsworth') derives a particularly organic feel from the album, and even more interesting when juxtaposed with the complex percussions of Andy Farag and Kris Meyers. The band even strikes a few heavy chords every one and awhile, evoking a powerful presence that it doubtless better when enjoyed watching them do it in action.

Anchor Drops marks a point for the band as an indication of their moving away from their influences and becoming their own unit. All I can say is, godspeed!

 Local Band Does O.K. by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.86 | 39 ratings

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Local Band Does O.K.
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars A fate that jam bands can many times have is one that with so much time and effort focused on large and epic live performances, actual studio albums can come to be rather lackluster in effort. Phish and the Dead are the most notorious for not sinking to this level, and less well known is Umphrey's McGee, a band rising more in popularity as more and more albums are released. Obviously taking after Phish, the band's second and more "official" album Local Band Does Okay is more or less an emulation of the 80's band. Bayliss recreate Trey Anastasio's relaxed playing style, which can shift suddenly depending on something abrupt like a tempo change. Cinninger's drumming is much akin to that of Jon Fishman, the very eclectic yet talented drummer of Phish. This works well with the plethora of percussion instruments that McGee has to work with, and luckily are used in their on ways and not played in one cacophony. Speaking of plethora, the number of instruments that McGee crams into each song is quite extraordinary, yet does cause a lack of cohesion between tracks, making for a song list that varies wildly from one to the other. This could be positive depending on how you want an album's structure to be- for me, I prefer a certain level of unity when one song transitions to another, but of course that's just me.

In summary this album is a step in the right direction, yet the orchestra of goofy instruments is not quite enough to differentiate Umphrey's McGee from Picture of Nectar-era Phish. As for someone who does like Phish and listens to them on a regular basis, this is not much more than retreading of the same ground that has already been beaten, and interesting variations already composed. Again though, the album does show some promise for the band's future. This local band did OK.

 Similar Skin by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 47 ratings

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Similar Skin
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band UMPHREY'S MCGEE was formed back in 1997, and has established itself as a popular staple in the US live circuit, more often than not regarded as a part of the so called jam band scene. Over the years they have released more than a dozen of live and studio albums, and appear to have established themselves fairly well among a key audience without ever becoming pigeonholed into any specific genre-oriented crowd as such. "Similar Skin" is their eighth studio production, and was released through their own label Hanging Brains Music in 2014.

Existing fans will have explored this album in depth by the time that this review is published, and while I suspect that the album may not have gone down all that well with their entire established fan base, I applaud the band for continuing to venture out to explore and expand their boundaries rather than replicating material of the exactly same nature as they have earlier. For those who haven't given this band a check yet, this particular production is one I'd recommend to those who know and enjoy bands like King's X and Rush as they appeared in the late '80s.

 Songs For Older Women by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Live, 1999
4.83 | 3 ratings

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Songs For Older Women
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Umph1348

5 stars This is a rare and much sought after dis from "Improg" giants Umphrey's McGee. While Kris Myers and Jake Cinninger are not part of this outfit (people who are familiar with this band or the "jam scene" know just how talented those players are), this live recording represents a burgeoning band that today (Late January 2015) is one of if the not the MOST tight and talented touring outfits on the plantet. If that statement seems like hyperbole, I encourage you to listen to almost any UM show (they can be found in countless places on the internet/YouTube/archive.org for free) and disagree. UM is as proggy as any band I can think of and are true masters of improvisation. In any case, this album represents their humble beginnings but also demonstrates the talent, humor and depth of musicality that made this band what it is today... Certainly "for collectors" as it is hard to track down but a "5" nonetheless because of what this album means to music history (read the first live release from one for the greatest live touring acts to take the stage, 2000+ shows and counting...)
 Similar Skin by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 47 ratings

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Similar Skin
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For those of you who were turned on by Mantis but turned off my much of Death By Stereo - you should give them another try with this album.

More rock oriented but not as quite as progressive as Mantis was, still really close.

Nothing really long but the funk that might have disappointed some in the last album is gone. Instead you get a lot of concise proggy songs, very crossover.

So far for the 2014 releases I find my self returning to this one the most often.

This is a very linear album. Lyrically it is almost a concept or theme album about relationships.

Thanks to Krigsman for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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