All week long we’ve been examining the evolution of Hajimemashite by Umphrey’s McGee from its roots in the pre-UM project Tashi Station through one of the best live versions yet at the recent Summer Camp Festival. Over its 14-year life span “Haj” has appeared on numerous Umphrey’s live albums, including Songs For Older Women, but went missing from all of the band’s studio efforts…until now. A majestic version of Hajimemashite, complete with a beautifully layered string arrangement, closes the sextet’s just-released Death By Stereo LP.
Keyboardist Joel Cummins explained why the 14-year old song finally made its way onto a proper studio release, “It was one of those things where we just went through our catalog and said ‘what do we have versions of that we like? What songs have we not recorded or put out a definitive version of?’ Haj was one of those that jumped out at us and as something we could totally hit out of the park in the studio. It was a really easy to decision to put that one down.” Guitarist Jake Cinninger added, “[Hajimemashite] seemed to have a mystical sort of edge to it and we needed something like that on the record. ‘Well, if you didn’t like all that, you’ll probably recognize this one’ kind of thing…a sweet sort of ending.”
Collaborator Nathan Swanson (Cameron McGill & The Quartet Offensive, Noah Harris and the Nagant Quartet) worked with the band to create and perform a string arrangement that Cinninger described as “Paul Buckmaster/Rolling Stone-esque,” in reference to Moonlight Mile, the closing track from 1971’s Sticky Fingers. Cummins had high praise for his bandmate’s contribution to the studio version of Hajimemashite, “it builds to this glorious crescendo with a definitive solo and gorgeous playing from Jake.” “We knew it was one of our favorite songs, and definitely a fan favorite too, it would make the perfect coda for the album,” Cummins concluded. Mission Accomplished.
Check out the studio version of Hajimemashite from Death By Stereo…
- Hajimemashite Throughout The Years: Part One – Tashi Station, Part Two – Songs For Older Women, Part Three – Fuji Rock Festival and Part Four – Summer Camp 2011
- Download: Purchase the Tashi Station version of Hajimemashite