Armchair Boogie Announces Winter Tour & Releases 2nd Single from Hard Times & Deadlines

Article Contributed by Dreamspider Pu… | Published on Friday, December 15, 2023

Armchair Boogie offers a funked up spin on bluegrass with their unique lineup of drums and electric bass backing acoustic/electric guitar and banjo. A band on the verge, the good word of the Boogie continues to spread like wildfire. Listed as a “Must-See Roots Artists at Bourbon & Beyond'' by The Bluegrass Situation who says, “We recently caught this jammy Wisconsin outfit at Earl Scruggs Music Festival, where they burnt down their late-night set.”

Armchair Boogie has announced an extensive Winter Tour with shows in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, and West Coast and will continue on throughout the States in 2024. They aim to help you boogie down even more in your living room, in your car, on your phone, or anywhere you listen to music when you're not at a gig with the independent release of Hard Times & Deadlines, their fourth studio album, on March 15.

To get you in the spirit, “Liquor Store,” the album’s 2nd single, is out now. Written by Augie Dougherty to address the nostalgic feeling of looking back on his youth, “reminiscing on the younger days of love and liquor.” The track features special guest Ernest Brusubardis IV on fiddle.

Glide Magazine writes, “The song is a hyper-paced work of alt-country-laced bluegrass that balances impressive picking with strong lyricism that could just as easily fit in a work of quiet folk. Propelled by Dougherty’s banjo, the music careens forward with a lively energy that you can imagine turning into an explosive jam onstage.”

This follows the November release of the Hartforesque lead track “Hard Times,” which demonstrates the 3-part harmonies that drive home the album’s namesake. Premiered by Live For Live Music, Michael Broerman writes, “‘Hard Times’ highlights the dualities that define Armchair Boogie.”

“On one hand, there’s the opening picking of Augie Dougherty‘s banjo, which elucidates the group’s traditional elements,” explains Broerman. “By the time he breezes through the opening verse, however, the rest of the band comes alive as Denzel Connor‘s drums awaken the track to reveal Armchair’s folk-jam sensibilities. The stylistic personalities of the four-piece—which also features Eli Frieders on electric bass and Ben Majeska on guitar—work in tandem on ‘Hard Times,’ as Armchair Boogie powers through the hard times and deadlines to discover what life is about.”

Self-produced, this new album shows a maturing of the band’s songwriting and musical capabilities. Composing these songs around the beginning of the pandemic, Majeska and Dougherty—who sing lead on the respective songs they wrote—were experiencing the stresses of entering their late twenties.

"Hard Times & Deadlines is a pretty literal explanation of what I felt life was turning into,” Dougherty says. "The fluffy part of college and party life was beginning to fade away and it seemed like it was time to put my head down and work."

Majeska, who plays both electric and acoustic guitars throughout the album, says “Life comes with highs and lows, and Hard Times & Deadlines captures the fleet of emotions that come with it. From broken hearts and fond memories. To broad horizons and the inevitable end of this human journey.”

Once the tunes were drafted, they were brought to the whole band for collaboration. "This is where the tune truly becomes a Boogie song. Everyone adds their touch of creative input and we're able to polish it up collectively pretty quickly,” explains Dougherty.
Along with “Liquor Store” and “Hard Times,” the ten original songs that make up Hard Times & Deadlines were recorded and mixed by Jeffrey Peterson at Lunar Lava Audio in Fort Atkinson, WI and mastered by Collin Jordan.

They cover a variety of topics, including capturing the fervor of a hopeless circumstance in "Gone in a Day" (with special guest fiddler Jeremy Garrett [Infamous Stringdusters, appearing courtesy of Organic Records]), toasting to wild nights and timeless stories in 'Skippin' Town,' and bringing poignant moments with "You've Been Hurt” and “Empty Pools.”

While upbeat and cheerful on the outside,  ”Low Down Time” pleads, “It’s been a low down time, And things been out of line. And I just need some help getting by. Won’t you help me stay alive?”  The song features special guests The Payback Horns (Jamie Kember on trombone, Jon Schipper on trumpet, and Allen Cordingley on tenor sax).

Dougherty's characteristic fast-talking vocal wit shines through in the buoyant “All the Same and the electrifying "Livin'"—inspired by a quote from The Hobbit: "What's the good in living, if the living isn't good?” Using his best "John Prine energy" while writing about our inevitable finish line in the tongue-in-cheek "Boneyard," Augie sings, '‘I'm headed to the bone yard. So are you. It’s the same old story that they’re following too close to.”

Jamgrass, newgrass, funkgrass, whatever you want to call it—Armchair Boogie is rapidly becoming one of the country’s hottest acts. Their unconventional lineup enhances their lightning-fast bluegrass, allowing them to freely venture into the realms of funk or country. With an unbounded sound, this Wisconsin-based quartet is known for their powerful harmonies, timeless originals, and choice covers, along with their enthusiastic live performances.

“Armchair Boogie is a name that somehow oddly perfects their vibe: a folk, funk, and bluegrass that originated on a front porch. A band that can turn downhome bluegrass into an upbeat groove with contagious rhythm is not to be missed…” writes The Pitch Kansas City’s Allison Scavo. “As I entered, the crowd was already screaming to the point where I questioned if I had missed them. I quickly realized they had just gotten on stage and the frenzied elation was merely for their presence. From the first note to the elongated jams and everything in between, Armchair Boogie aerated the venue with unforgettable energy.”

Armchair Boogie Winter Tour
12/15 Fri - The Hive - Fond du Lac, WI
12/31 Sun - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI #
1/16-17 Tue-Wed - Belly Up - Aspen, CO*
1/18 Thu - Mesa Theater - Grand Junction, CO*
1/20 Sat - Center For The Arts - Crested Butte, CO*
1/21 Sun - Sheridan Opera House - Telluride, CO*
2/3 Sat - Grand Theater - Wausau, WI
2/9 Fri - Fox Hollow - La Crosse, WI
2/10 Sat - Ice Dance Music Fest - Appleton, WI
2/21 Wed - WOW Hall - Eugene, OR*
2/22 Thu - Revolution Hall - Portland, OR*
2/23 Fri -  Midtown Ballroom/Domino Room/Annex - Bend, OR*
2/24 Sat - Neptune Theatre - Seattle, WA*
2/25 Sun - Wild Buffalo - Bellingham, WA*
3/1 Fri - Talbott’s Cider Company - Palisade, CO*  
3/2 Sat - WinterWonderGrass - Steamboat Springs, CO
3/16 Sat - Stoughton Opera House - Stoughton, WI

# w/ Horseshoes & Hand Grenades and Dead Horses
*w/ The Kitchen Dwellers