Song of the Day: “Easter in Quarantine” by Umphrey’s McGee

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Umphrey’s McGee (Photo courtesy IVPR)

Not unlike the rest of the country and the world, improv-rock gurus Umphrey’s McGee have found themselves with an empty-for-now itinerary and, in isolation, the strange daily balance of making sense of it all and making use of the extra time. Today, UM released “Easter in Quarantine.”

Penned and recorded by Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss, mixed, and mastered in the course of just over two weeks, “Easter in Quarantine” is a haunting, moody reflection that encapsulates the zeitgeist of this surreal experience we’re all having.

“Gazing out the window on a chilly, gray day and what lands in my inbox but an unknown track titled ‘Easter in Quarantine,’” remembered Umphrey’s manager and the man behind this single’s artwork, Kevin Browning. “Setting down my coffee, I picked up my headphones and hit play on Jake’s latest delivery. The heartbeat of the kick drum and somber piano melody immediately gave me chills. Sparse and emotive, it perfectly captured the mood that morning.”

A swirling Hammond organ ramps into a simple ride cymbal and kick drum rhythm before Bayliss’s first lines enter amidst a chilling reverb. “Empty pockets, frozen feet. No one’s walking down the street.” “Jake had set the mood, the vibe was there, and the subject matter was all too apparent in the moment,” Kevin said. “And as Brendan does, he perfectly channeled the sentiments that we’re all experiencing during these bizarre times.”

Watch a lyric video of “Easter in Quarantine” by Umphreys McGee on YouTube:

The song’s refrain of “looking for a way to wait it out” and “looking for a way to make it out alive” gives way to an uplifting tag, promising “I’ll see you when I see you, on the other side.” The song closes with something atypical for Umphrey’s McGee, a saxophone solo. Played by Jake Cinninger –along with the rest of the instrumentation on “Easter In Quarantine” — the outro leaves listeners with maybe a little more hope than they started the song with.

“It is said a lot right now and it’s as true as ever: We are all in this together. The feelings of missing one another, of longing for more human connection, are palpable in all of us. We have constructed lives by building a community together, it’s what we know. This pause of unknown length in the middle of that is a new reality which resonates with each of us now,” said the band in a collective statement. “Music has always been an irreplaceable part of us, and it’s the way we will continue to get through it, together. And we here at Umphrey’s can’t wait to see you on the other side of this crazy moment in history.”

For more Umphrey’s McGee, visit the band’s website.

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