Umphrey's McGee have announced they're to release a new studio album, Asking For A Friend, on July 1 via Nothing Too Fancy Music. Check out lead track, Small Strides, below.
The Chicago improv crew's 15th studio record is the follow-up to 2021's You Walked Up Shaking In Your Boots But You Stood Tall And Left A Raging Bull, and was recorded across three different studios over the last three years. Guitarist and vocalist Brendan Bayliss describes it as “tapping into the idea that we were all isolated yet somehow still connected and experiencing the same emotions.”
The album's first two tracks came about during a 2019 session in Nashville with engineer Greg Magers and producer Ryan Hewitt (Red Hot Chili Peppers), which also produced the standalone single, Suxity. By early 2020, however, everything had changed and being forced apart by the pandemic gave the band a new impetus to push forward.
"Those first three months felt like an eternity," says keyboardist Joel Cummins. "[But] there was a huge excitement and motivation when we got back together again. More than ever, we realised how much we needed each other and this music."
Adds drummer Kris Myers of the 14-track, “This album reflects how our songwriting has really come a long way since the days of putting Lego together, a term given to explain our past process of assembling the greater sum of the parts in eclectic fashion. Instead, we were able to naturally connect with these songs with our hearts, and a little less from our heads through simple, serene songs.”
The band marked the 24th anniversary of their first live shows in March 2022 with a three-night residency at Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland. They'll continue performing live across North America in 2022.