New album from Umphrey's McGee? Asking For A Friend!

Umphrey's McGee 2021 press shot against a green screen
(Image credit: Press)

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.

cover artwork for Umphrey's McGee album Asking For A Friend

(Image credit: Press)
Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.