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UMPHREY'S MCGEE

Crossover Prog • United States


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Umphrey's McGee picture
Umphrey's McGee biography
From www.umphreys.com
The History of Umphrey's McGee
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 influences with a reverence the members describe as "bi...
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Umphrey's McGee official website

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Live at the MuratLive at the Murat
SCI Fidelity Records 2007
Audio CD$8.76
$10.67 (used)
Umphrey's McGee Wrapped Around Chicago New Years at the RivUmphrey's McGee Wrapped Around Chicago New Years at the Riv
Sci Fidelity Records 2005
DVD$16.35
$4.90 (used)
Death By StereoDeath By Stereo
ATO RECORDS / RED 2011
Audio CD$7.60
$6.29 (used)
Anchor DropsAnchor Drops
Sci Fidelity Records 2004
Audio CD$7.88
$6.56 (used)
Bottom HalfBottom Half
Sci Fidelity Records 2007
Audio CD$6.40
$3.76 (used)
MantisMantis
Sci Fidelity Records 2009
Audio CD$8.47
$2.99 (used)
Safety in NumbersSafety in Numbers
Sci Fidelity Records 2006
Audio CD$7.28
$6.61 (used)
Local Band Does OkLocal Band Does Ok
Sci Fidelity Records 2003
Audio CD$6.50
$3.33 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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Safety in Numbers by Umphrey's McGee (CD, Apr-2006, SCI Fidelity Records) US $29.99 [0 bids]
17h 38m
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UMPHREY'S MCGEE shows & tickets


  • Umphrey's McGee at Stubb's Bar-B-Q, Austin on 19 Apr 2014
  • Summer Camp Music Festival on 23 May 2014
  • Wakarusa Music & Arts Festival on 5 Jun 2014
  • Mountain Jam 2014 on 5 Jun 2014
  • Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2014 on 12 Jun 2014
  • Umphrey's McGee + Moon Taxi + The Motet at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison on 5 Jul 2014

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)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits Vol. III
1998
4.09 | 24 ratings
Local Band Does OK
2002
3.99 | 49 ratings
Anchor Drops
2004
3.41 | 31 ratings
Safety In Numbers
2006
3.54 | 22 ratings
The Bottom Half
2007
3.61 | 61 ratings
Mantis
2009
2.91 | 21 ratings
Death By Stereo
2011

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Songs For Older Women
1999
2.67 | 3 ratings
One Fat Sucka
2001
4.43 | 3 ratings
Local Band Does Oklahoma
2003
4.33 | 6 ratings
Live At The Murat
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Jimmy Stewart 2007
2008

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live from the Lake Coast
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Wrapped Around Chicago
2005
4.00 | 1 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 | 2 ratings
Summer Sampler 2010
2010

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Suedevanshoe

3 stars Happy prog- meets jam band- Umphrey's McGee roared out of Chicago with this gem from '09. Lengthy compositions meet superb melodic construction on this well-executed album.

Crossover prog is a perfect niche for this record--it has it's phish moments, Mr Bungle, even strains of bands like Moe and God Street Wine. It is most assuredly progressive though--and a fine example that progressive music does not have to be dreary, dark, intellectual, and drudgerous. It's been well described as party prog, a title that fits.

For the late 2k's, the record works, and should appeal to many prog lovers, and even those not far outside progressive circles.

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 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by bb1319

4 stars 4.0 stars

I had some friends who really loved Umphrey's McGee (but they are gone to Berklee now), and I decided to give them a shot. I decided to get this as my introduction because it was supposed to be their most progressive effort. After owning it for about 6 months now, I have decided that it a great album. Sure, it's not the most progressive work ever created. It's more like Phish meets Zappa meets Porcupine Tree, if that's even possible. I don't particularly enjoy the all-around happy feel to the album (I usually enjoy much darker things), but the album has fantastic moments. The title track is probably the strongest on the album. Not to mention that the part with an orchestra at about 9 minutes in is fantastic, probably the single greatest moment on the album.

"1348" is another highlight for me. I love the beginning to the song. It has a certain prog metal element to it, but when the vocals come in, it is obviously not. I don't particularly enjoy the vocals on the album, however. I find them to be a little too standard and "American" singer-type, if that makes sense.

Overall, highly recommended for fans of prog metal who have a humorous side and don't mind standard vocals.

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 Death By Stereo by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.91 | 21 ratings

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Death By Stereo
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by pociluk

2 stars Death By Boredom. After turning out their best album in "Mantis", UM decides to go with a simpler approach overall. "Search 4" is the only song worthy of being on "Mantis". The new thing is funk. It seems like they are overly enamored with it Songs like "Booth Love", "Deeper", and "Wellwishers" all fall victim of a bad attempt to get funky. A prog band still desperately trying to cling to their jam band roots. Move on, guys. "Conduit" had potential but it too fails due to another jam attempt.

I am very disappointed. I thought for sure UM was indeed progressing rather they are regressing and it isn't pretty. Apparently they couldn't handle being focused enough to crank out another prog epic like "Mantis" but at least we have that. 1.5 stars which I round up for no good reason.

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 Death By Stereo by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.91 | 21 ratings

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Death By Stereo
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Crossover and E&O Teams

3 stars A big disappointment, because yeah, I was kind of expecting follow-up worthy of Mantis. The problem is that this album is trying to be many genres at once. But not your normal kind of "variable" (I would say Eclectic, but the term has specific meaning here on PA), but Death By Stereo takes this even further - almost as if each song was and needed to be different. That wouldn't be a problem per se, but the troubles begin when I cannot listen half of these songs because of it, they are simply unlistenable. Well, well, it's getting worse - there is a strong pop presence as well.

3(-), sadly.

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 The Bottom Half by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.54 | 22 ratings

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The Bottom Half
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A masterful disc of music combining everything glorious about the world of music.

Umphrey's McGee has become one of the great new jam bands that has swept the nation. Not only do they improvise in playing many different styles of music together, but they manage to play a progressive style of music while maintaining a free-flowing structure throughout their live shows. They've literally become a breath of fresh air in the world of jam bands, and music in general.

It's interesting to see this band on Prog Archives, and yet fitting to see them in the Crossover Prog section, because they essentially are. Start up the first track on "The Bottom Half" and the first things you hear are a slow groove accompanied by a smooth sax, light flute and broad guitars, before a quick reggae stint swings back into the main groove. After a catchy chorus sucks you in, the band delves into a hard rock headbanging groove before a few atonal solos come back into the main groove accompanied by Metallica/Tenacious D- esque guitar solos reminiscent of 80's thrash metal.

Keep this in mind that this is the only band in the world (that I've heard) that covered the Beatles' Abbey Road suite and Metallica's "And Justice For All" in the same live show.

I never even mentioned the avant-garde-esque instrumental section in the middle of the song. With most bands that I praise so highly, I can't say anything more than to listen to the actual song/album. The title song is already a good prog track, but then "Bright Lights, Big City" kicks into this psuedo-disco feel and it turns into a great driving song. Now, for most jam band fans (don't know how many are on here, but whatever), the key for a good jam band is to not only have good improvisational songs ("Great American"), but also some very catchy songs that anyone can listen to ("Intentions Clear").

Another interesting facet about , not only this record, but the entire band, is that they're a very light-hearted group of musicians. They're one of a select few bands that can start a very ambitious song with a screw-up, start over and keep that screw-up in the song on the studio record. They're not perfect and they don't want to come across that way. In fact, the second disc is mainly songs the band did in their spare time, snippets of other songs ("Words", "Higgins", "Atmosfarag") and cuts of band conversations ("Time Eater", "Ready Noodles"). They're another humorous bunch in the jam band world. Of course, most are (Phish, String Cheese Incident, The Disco Biscuits), but these guys really do show it in their live shows.

Keep in mind that many of their good songs (and some more progressive tracks) will only be found in live shows. Like Phish, Umphrey's has become infamous with playing songs at live shows not on studio records such as "Eat", "40's Theme" and "Bridgeless". Be it as it may, they know how to entertain a crowd, no matter what music they're playing. They've covered bands from The Beatles to Metallica, Billy Joel to Spinal Tap, Pink Floyd to Talking Heads. They're no stranger to any genre of music. They know how to appeal to everyone. They know how to create catchy music while throwing atonal notes and chord progressions familiar to prog fans.

And it works. The Umphrey's Cocktail works. Now, it might not have been as recognizable on, say, "Local Band Does O.K", but 10 years in and this outfit is going stronger than ever before. So, let me tell ya, if you're looking for one of those groups that plays spirited music while staying laid back and free-flowing, Umphrey's will fit your bill.

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 Death By Stereo by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.91 | 21 ratings

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Death By Stereo
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Party Prog? It's not a real party unless someone gets killed...

Well, if you're expecting a Mantis part two, you'll probably be disappointed with this album. But in a way Mantis is probably the least musically diverse album in the discography of Umphrey and Death By Stereo is more a return to form. It's a somewhat eclectic set of music performed by a talented set of musicians that fully embrace progressive rock traditions but not exclusively. So even those tracks which might not pass a prog purity test are fine in their own right.

The album starts off Miami Virture cruelly tries to trick you into turning the volume up because it starts out muddy and a little quiet before coming up to full volume. It sounds like a song that could be a radio/popular hit but who knows if it will?

Domino Theory, "well basically it's not what it seems. I've got my mind made up, made up. It's way too late to argue with me." Could be alt-rock.

Search 4 comes back to the Mantis spirit of things. Intense proggy opening, lots of changes.

Booth Love. Funky, kind of Steely Danish (Dan-ish). Funk me out.

The Floor. Intense instrumentally. Lyrics take a back seat somewhat. One of those songs that builds and then explodes musically. It does lay you gently on the floor for a little while.

Wellwishers. Back to the funkier side of things. Still has the prog edge.

Dim Sun. A brief acoustic guitar intermission.

Deeper. Sink in. It's like a funky comfy couch.

Conduit. Something a little more complex musically.

Hajimema[&*!#]e. Haven't been pronouncing the title right until I just typed it now (Haji-me-ma-sh(ee)ite awright?). "I didn't know things were supposed to be this way." Kind of oldest Allman Brothers like. A song for those of us aging and feeling weary. "It's alright was all I heard, this will pass away."

In the progosphere of things, good but not essential. Beyond those boundaries a nice set of tunes with several bones thrown in for the prog dog.

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 Summer Sampler 2010 by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Summer Sampler 2010
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Imagine if you will, walking into a liquor store, bringing your hooch up the counter and seeing three copies of a freebie Umphrey's McGee CD on the counter. It happened to me, it may not happen to you.

The material on this disc may actually be available as a freebie somewhere on their web site. Anyway, if you can get yourself a hold of a copy of this, it's a primary example of what makes them a great band. The live stuff isn't a carbon copy of the studio stuff. It isn't that it's sloppy. It's just that they kick it up a notch.

Turn & Run is transformed into Turn & Dub. Two versions of Nothing Too Fancy are offered up. This is probably their biggest canvas tune for improvisation. Was one of my favorites off of the first album I tried. We've also got August off of their out of print first album. A few songs I haven't heard of that may be on their next album: The Linear, Conduit, Got Your Milk Right (Here).

Music worthy of being released as an official live album.

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 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Too american for me!!!

So I continue with the next album from 2009 I've listened to. This album is another noce attempt for interesting contemporary progressive music. I think it succeed partially. It's very intriguing with some of its rhythmic melodies, pleasant sounding and fairly good musicianship. But that's all with the positive points of the album. In Mantis there aren't enough exploration and depth to form memorable album. It lacks sophisticated songwriting moments and special ideas, except in Cemetary Walk , which I consider as the best song on the album. The vocals looks like a pop punk (like the vocals of Sum 41). The music is mainstream rock radio style. As a conclusion I would like to mention Mantis is too american for me, but it's still good album for everyday use.

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 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Crossover and E&O Teams

4 stars First one and for some time also the only one I've listened by Umphrey's (is it just me, or is this name really weird?). They say that their live gigs are much better than studio albums. OK, I'm not from USA and I don't expect them coming anytime soon to my country, so what's left ? Studio albums (and few live ones). Made To Measure is really great intro (which reminds me [by this piano] singers like Norah Jones, which I like, even they're not prog. But this is), setting the mood and story. Story about male perspective (which I like, as today's world is quite feminist (not talking about Archives though). When I took my time to understand lyrics (and not just listen to them), it raised my feelings about "Mantis". It's quite true, things they say (sing 'bout). Then strange bridge (half a minute song) and finally, Mantis, with really strong (and unique) intro. This is what I like about McGee, it's different and yet familiar (0:30-1:05) sound. Blend it all together, add interesting story (and quite original one, as this isn't something I was expecting from prog), pleasant vocals and melodic element and you have great crossover prog (source of inspiration - everything)

4(+), being Jam band isn't something to be ashamed of. Later on, it somehow lost the energy, before finally regaining it. Some of these influences does not sound so good as others, but in general, it's very good record. Under-rated, yes, but what isn't these days.

EDIT: Oh-kay, two people already mentioned me that there are ways. Even it still doesn't mean seeing live gig. But thanks for these, they're valuable for me.

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 Mantis by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Mantis
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars There are albums from Umphrey's McGee I like much better than this one, but regardless, it is a fun album with some pretty okay music throughout. I think I get why some folks won't like it, but it has a certain appeal in its bubbly pop sensibilities, and maintains some technical prowess and compositional integrity that keeps the music fresh and far from mere pop music.

"Made to Measure" The album kicks off with this plucky number, full of jaunty instrumentation and bouncy singing. The little bit of guitar playing that bookends the song is the best part for me.

"Preamble" This short track is a tune from a music box.

"Mantis" The full-bodied title track begins with heavy guitars interspersed with a dark, dreamy piano run. The main vocal melody is cheerful and the music is upbeat. Halfway through, the song basically stops and changes direction completely, becoming a slow-moving piece of music with a lazy lead guitar. About eight minutes in, the music turns into fast-paced light rock once more, highlighting both the lead guitar and the soaring vocals.

"Cemetery Walk" This begins gently, with a delicate piano leading the way. It becomes more like a 1970s classic rock song very soon, however, except for the chorus, which is truly remarkable and a great aspect of the song, nay, the album. The final two minutes consists of piano and a warbling slide guitar.

"Cemetery Walk II" This reinterprets the main theme of the previous track using piano and electronic dance beats, effectively turning it into a club tune. I can see why this would make most progressive rock fans want to vomit from their ears, but I rather think it's kind of cool, and after all, it only lasts two and a half minutes.

"Turn & Run" I like the acoustic introduction, but what follows is a bit harder to digest- it just seems too heavy for its own good. Also, the synthesizer has a really nasty tone. Luckily, the listener is compensated with a lovely passage courtesy of the tasteful lead guitar playing. The lead guitar solo at the end is good and raunchy.

"Spires" This one has a great introduction, with a pounding series of chords followed by a little piano run. It has a gritty guitar riff that bolters the synthesizer and lead vocals, and some great interplay between electric guitar and what sounds like violin. In another stop-start moment, the guitarist plays a completely unrelated bit that leads into pleasant, but also unrelated music. The song ends with an a cappella section.

"Prophecy Now" This terse number is an odd one, with a rather free melody that dictates the chord progression.

"Red Tape" A giddy little song, with brass and electric guitar, this features a stellar introduction that pops up here and there with little warning. For the most part, I don't see too much that's interesting about this one, but there's nothing that really bothers me about it- it's a solid yet lackluster song.

"1348" The final track is just one I can't get into. It has its moments, musically, but it's almost too cute. The saccharine electronic tones and guitar don't help the whiny, almost Smashmouth-like singing. When there is no singing, the music is more like ska.

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Thanks to Krigsman for the artist addition.

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