What began as a jam session at a rehearsal space in Austin has become a tri-coastal collection of gifted music-makers whose captivating live performances and studio releases have garnered acclaim from fans and publications around the world. Progger is held together by a passion for music that balances sophisticated harmony and melody with visceral beats and riffs. Through three critically-acclaimed releases (a fourth is on the way) and live tours supporting acts like Parliament/Funkadelic, Snarky Puppy, Ghost-Note, and the Funky Knuckles, Progger has developed an international following of devoted fans.
During the nearly record-breaking Texas summer heat of 2011, composers Brian Donohoe and Matthew Muehling began playing weekly sessions with bassist Nicholas Clark, drummer Daniel Watson, guitarist Carter Arrington, and trombonist Paul Deemer in Austin. Despite the city’s deep music community, Muehling, a guitarist, and Donohoe, a saxophonist and keyboardist, had found relatively little of the progressive jazz-funk-rock fusion that they loved, so they brought some friends together to make their own. A year-long residency at the legendary One-2-One Bar allowed Progger to develop the music that would become their first two independently-released albums, “Beatmaker” and “Populace.”
Despite huge life changes in the following years— some band members moved across the country, others started families— the band was determined to continue developing the unique sound it had started in Texas. Progger’s core began collaborating with musicians in New York and Los Angeles and caught the attention of Ropeadope Records, who facilitated the release of the band’s third album, “Scattering.” The record was released in early 2016 and features the original Austin squad along with New York musicians including bassist Bryan Ladd, drummer Devin Collins, guitarists Daniel Muniz and Akira Ishiguro, and two members of Snarky Puppy, Justin Stanton and Nate Werth on keyboards and percussion, respectively.
While fans eagerly anticipate “Dystopia,” Progger’s fourth album (and their second for Ropeadope), positive reviews for “Scattering” continue to roll in. Brooklyn’s Crash Chords podcast describes it as “gripping… tight as hell… it will lift your heart in a very special way.” The UK’s Soul and Jazz radio show and webcast calls it “amazing,” while Germany’s Daily Prog blog calls it “vibrant and renewing.” The Boulder Weekly summarizes the sound well: “Smooth chords over dirty funk beats with just a hint of the building, swirling psychedelic sounds of prog rock.”
“Dystopia” will be available through Ropeadope Records on March 9, 2018. Progger will be touring in support of it throughout the year.
Photograph by Stella K