It’s really no secret to anyone reading this blog that Umphrey’s McGee is one of my favorite bands. They continually rip s*** up from the West Coast to the Midwest to the East Coast to Jam Cruise to Wakarusa to Summer Camp, etc.; these guys have always been fantastic at carrying the road warrior title.

And of course, this year is no exception. The band is going out on the road in early 2007 to remind fans that they are indeed one of the true torchbearers of the jamband scene right now. Add to that the fact that they just announced the release of The Bottom Half, their follow-up to last year’s Safety in Numbers.

On April 3, 2007, Umphrey’s McGee releases a brand new double-disc studio album – a spontaneous follow up to their spring 2006 studio release Safety In Numbers. Titled The Bottom Half, disc one features ten tracks that were originally recorded during the SIN Sessions, while disc two offers outtakes, alternative versions of songs, a cappella recordings, and other bits from the band’s 2005 studio sessions. As with Safety In Numbers, famed album artist Storm Thorgerson will design the artwork for The Bottom Half.

This is what successful jambands do, people — tour dates, music festivals, special one-off events near home town, finish recording something and slap it together for a release, lather, rinse and repeat…

If you happen to be living in a cave and you’re not really familiar with their stuff yet, sample a segment back from 2005 with a few of my favorites from the band…

I probably saw them 10 times or so during 2005 so it’s probably my best representative picture of how I see/hear the band when I listen. They hit their stride this year. 2004 was good and all, especially given their Bonnaroo late-night performance, but 2005 was really the year for me and Umphrey’s McGee…

Maybe I’ll revisit a little harder during 2007, and it looks like all of us fans are going to get plenty of chances.

Tour dates after the jump.

Umphrey’s McGee 2007 Tour Dates

February 2007
16, 17 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
18 – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Theatre
21 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
22 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
23 – Charleston, DC – The Music Farm
24 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ South End
25 – Boone, NC – Legends
27 – Norfolk, VA – NorVa
28 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater

March 2007
1 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
2 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
5, 6 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
14 – Urbana, IL – Canopy Club
15 – Grand Rapids, MI – Orbit Room
16 – Pontiac, MI – Clutch Cargos
17 – South Bend, IN – Morris Performing Arts Center
22 – Madison, WI – Orpheum Theatre
23, 24 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

April 2007
3 – Iowa City, IA – Iowa Memorial Union Ballroom
4 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
6, 7 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre
11 – Northampton, MA – Calvin Theatre
12 – Boston, MA – Avalon Ballroom
13 – New York, NY – Nokia Theatre Times Square
14 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
15 – Rochester, NY – Water Street Music Hall
17 – Toronto, Ontario – The Opera House
18 – Jim Thorpe, PA – Penn’s Peak
19 – Buffalo, NY – The Town Ballroom
20 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall

May 2007
6 – Memphis, TN – Beale Street Music Festival

July 2007
19 – Detroit Lakes, MN – 10,000 Lakes Festival

[via liveDaily]