The volume of crowd chatter grows, the temperature rises, and the buzz in the room grows palpable. House lights dim and the walk-on music starts flying from stacks of speakers flanking the stage. One by one, the band members of Umphrey’s McGee settle into their respective places on stage, tuning their instruments and taking that final sip of water or something stronger in preparation for the rock show ahead. Suddenly they’re playing along with the pre-recorded intro music, reaching into its existing themes and adding new parts as they see fit, building and intensifying until the bottom drops out and the band executes a classic Umphrey’s segue into one of their 100+ beloved album tracks. This is the diving board from which Umphrey’s McGee jumps—the start of their show—and now twelve of these fan-favorite intro songs have gotten the full studio treatment. On July 16th, Umphrey’s McGee will release them on an album called YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL.
Today, fans were treated to an early listen of the single, “Leave Me Las Vegas,” which made its live debut at Workplay Soundstage in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 5th, 2009. A filtered drum-machine intro turns unison-riff heavy right off the bat before the dissonant guitar theme rears its head. There’s a chunky weight to “Leave Me Las Vegas,” but amongst the distorted guitars, the foundational groove never wavers. Like most of the songs on YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL, “Leave Me Las Vegas” climbs and climbs on an upward, sometimes intense trajectory; something the members of Umphrey’s channeled impeccably during their pandemic-driven long-distance, remote recording sessions. Fans can listen to “Leave Me Las Vegas” now and pre-order or pre-save YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL ahead of its July 16th release right here.
Since 2009, the Chicago-based improv-rock outfit has been using these intro pieces as a jumping-off point in their live shows, but with the studio development of these compositions, the band landed on something much broader than their original walk-on music concept. There’s an ultra-thematic, driving energy in each song that reaches beyond just pre-show excitement; it’s a balls to the wall, fist-pumping peak with every new track. At times, YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL feels like an all-out music nerd masterclass, the soundtrack for an unreleased Ridley Scott epic, and the inspiring force behind an all-time high score on Cruis’n USA or an impossibly difficult level of DOOM 2. Longtime fans of Umphrey’s McGee will be transported straight back to the first time they saw the band take the stage to any of these twelve songs. Those listeners discovering the band for the first time through this new album will be treated to a choose-your-own-adventure into the Umphrey’s multiverse, following each track down a rabbit hole into the band’s deep and diverse catalog of studio albums and recorded live shows.
As for the album title, the backstory is amazing. Finding himself invited to sit in on the great Los Lobos’ opening set during an Umphrey’s New Years’ run at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, guitarist Cinninger stared down nerves and intimidation as he walked onto the stage with Southern California’s rock and roll kings. “I go up there, get comfortable, start getting into it, finally make some eye contact with [David] Hidalgo and he gives me the go-ahead to blaze a solo,” says Cinninger. “I start out meek and mild, and dial it up to bronco mode.” He crushed it, so much so that after the show, Los Lobos’s rhythm guitarist Cesar Rosas came over to Cinninger to let him know, “You walked up shaking in your boots, but you stood tall and left a raging bull.” What’s that tale have to do with a studio album inspired by live show intros? Nothing, but Umphrey’s McGee have laughed about it for years and thought it was a better title than Foreplay. And when management thought it was a lousy album title, the band knew it was a keeper.
YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL is only a part of what Umphrey’s McGee has been working on over the course of the last year off of touring. Stay tuned for more at umphreys.com.
YOU WALKED UP SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS BUT YOU STOOD TALL AND LEFT A RAGING BULL Tracklist:
There’s No Crying In Mexico
Leave Me Las Vegas
You Got The Wrong Guy
Catch Umphrey’s McGee On Tour:
June 18 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 19 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 20 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 25 – Lafayette, NY – Apple Valley Park
June 26 – Lafayette, NY – Apple Valley Park
June 27 – Woodstock, NY – Levon Helm Studios
June 29 – Frederick, MD – Showtime At The Drive-In
June 30 – Frederick, MD – Showtime At The Drive-In
July 1-4- Scranton, PA – The Peach Music Festival
July 9 – Pelham, TN – The Caverns Outdoor Amphitheater
July 10 – Pelham, TN – The Caverns Outdoor Amphitheater
August 5 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
August 6 – Beech Mountain, NC – Beech Mountain Summer Series
August 7 – Beech Mountain, NC – Beech Mountain Summer Series
August 8 – Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Company
A full list of tour dates and festival appearances can be found at umphreys.com/tour