Umphrey’s McGee

While the RIAA continues to go after illegal music downloaders by handing out subpoenas as if they were post-show fliers for upcoming events — and with the sort of vehement joy that alienates even the most loyal and law-abiding fans — the jam scene’s trading communities continue to flourish. Armed with the blessings of the musicians themselves, fans with the fetish for collecting and cataloging their favorite acts not only offer bands a loyal fanbase but also allow for the opportunity to spread their music to the uninitiated masses. With the telltale title of its 2002 release Local Band Does O.K. , the Chicago-based sextet Umphrey’s McGee confirms the importance of such maverick marketing. Fueled since 1997 by the same sort of grassroots support that sparked the careers of Phish and String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee has taken a strong step forward with the addition of drummer Kris Myers, a recent replacement for stickman-turned-med-student Mike Mirro. From bluegrass and classical to hip-hop, funk, jazz and metal, this genre-bending band has the talent to cover a lot of ground — and a legion of fans that’s more than willing to follow along.

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