Armchair Boogie

MADISON, Wis. — Jamgrass, newgrass, funkgrass, whatever you want to call it—Armchair Boogie is rapidly becoming one of the country’s hottest acts. With an unbounded sound, this Wisconsin-based quartet is known for their powerful harmonies, timeless originals, and choice covers, along with unforgettable live performances. Listed as a “Must-See Roots Artists at Bourbon & Beyond” by The Bluegrass Situation who wrote, “We recently caught this jammy Wisconsin outfit at Earl Scruggs Music Festival, where they burnt down their late-night set.”

Armchair Boogie is Augie Dougherty on banjo and Ben Majeska acoustic and electric guitars backed by tight, driving rhythms of Eli Frieders on electric bass and Denzel Connor on drums. This unconventional lineup enhances their lightning-fast bluegrass, allowing them to freely venture into the realms of funk or country. A band on the verge, Armchair Boogie independently released their fourth studio recording, Hard Times & Deadlines, on March 15.

The lead track, and first single, “Hard Times,” demonstrates the 3-part harmonies that drive home the album’s namesake. Dougherty says of his perspective of the song, “‘Hard Times’ is about my navigation of life’s realities. Entering my late twenties came with a lot of pressure to pursue musical and other professional endeavors. Feeling lost, feeling a lack of freedom, feeling like I have to push on through.”

The Hartforesque sounding tune can also take on a plethora of new meanings with lyrics like, “We’re out here all alone, this big ol’ world is our only home, What do you do, if you find yourself lost? You can find a friend, you can find a bucket, You can find a piece of wood and just chuck it. If you’re real lucky, you can find a soulWell the hard times and deadlines pushin’ me through till the good times.

Live For Live Music premiered the song and Michael Broerman writes, “‘Hard Times’ highlights the dualities that define Armchair Boogie. On one hand, there’s the opening picking of Augie‘s banjo, which elucidates the group’s traditional elements. By the time he breezes through the opening verse, however, the rest of the band comes alive as Denzel‘s drums awaken the track to reveal Armchair’s folk-jam sensibilities. The stylistic personalities of the four-piece—which also features Eli on electric bass and Ben on acoustic guitar [for this track]—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. 

Majeska 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.”

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.”

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.

The ten original songs that make up Hard Times & Deadlines were recorded and mixed by Jeffrey Peterson at Lunar Lava Audio—who specializes in classic recording techniques and organic sounding results—in Fort Atkinson, WI. It was mastered by Collin Jordan—owner of The Boiler Room Mastering in Chicago.

Kind Words about Armchair Boogie and Hard Times & Deadlines:

“Defined by a jam-driven grassy funk and harmonies that soar, the band have blazed their own trail, building a following without a label but with a razor sharp focus on their future.”—Goldmine, Ray Chelstowski 

“Both lead-off tracks ‘Hard Times,’ & ‘Livin’’ are fuel-injected, gutsy & lively creations with some humorous lyrics that take a back seat to the fiery performance of the fast & loose musicians. ‘Boneyard,’ even has an early 60s song humor & sounds like an outtake from Dante & the Evergreens after they recorded their hit ‘Alley-Oop.’ But nothing on this CD is novelty-oriented.” —Americana Highways, John Apice

“the album clearly qualifies them as a band not only with an infectious sound but also an ample supply of wit and wisdom to go along with it”  —Bluegrass Today, Lee Zimmerman

“Melding indie rock fervour with the intricate fretwork of bluegrass, the band steer their way through both genres without slowing and manage to come out on the other side with something unique and wholly their own.” —Alan Cackett (UK)

“an unorthodox combo for the bluegrass world. But it works for them and their growing fanbase of Armchair Boogie enthusiasts” —Bluegrass Today, John Lawless

On… ‘Livin’…, Armchair Boogie question the point of it all, and whether life is in fact all that good at all.  Ridiculous, of course, as one can easily refute the posed question “what’s the use of livin’ if the livin’ really ain’t that good?” by pointing out that the combination of fast paced banjo giving way (wait long enough, it really does) to a funky electric guitar boogie coda is surely as good a reason as any to embrace life.” —AmericanaUK, Jonathan Aird

“The funky aspect of their music is most vivid in the horn slathered ‘Low Down Time’ while the closing ‘Boneyard’ with its upbeat music, much like the opener, disguises downcast lyrics, in this case a sarcastic view of life’s finality. Yet, Armchair Boogie’s unbounded energy and unabashed contagious enthusiasm prevail on anything they play or sing about.” —Country Standard Time, Jim Hynes

“In my experience, some of the best songs are written to completion (or almost) within a few hours of starting. That’s what happened with ‘Gone in a Day.’ When you feel strongly about the subject matter, ideas tend to flow with far less second guessing. There was no rush, but all the feelings, words, and melodies were at the ready. It also didn’t take long at all to think of adding in our friend Jeremy Garrett on the fiddle to take it to new heights. We think it’ll be just as smooth a listen as it was to put together.” —Ben Majeska says to The Bluegrass Situation

These songs [in Hard Times & Deadlines] look at the struggles and inevitable end of life, while the music works to lift us up and keep us going. There is some great playing and wonderful grooves on these tracks.” —Michael Doherty’s Music Log

“Majeska’s ‘Skippin’ Town’…  is essentially a tuneful tip of the hat to nigh-universal bacchanalian, ageless examples of youth. This one has some rockin’ musical moments and must work well with live audiences.”  —Will Phoenix, Now Playing: Track by Track Review

“unpredictably delightful” —Northwest Bluegrass Music Association

“This act of collaboration is what cemented these songs as Armchair Boogie material, as the band tapped into the fluid, communal playing style that has made it a rising name on the festival circuit.”—Live For Live Music, Michael Broerman – Song Premiere

“Armchair Boogie Showcase Lightning-fast Bluegrass Chops and Strong Lyricism on ‘Liquor Store’” —Glide Magazine Song Premiere

Hard Times & Deadlines, the new release from the Wisconsin based jam-grass band Armchair Boogie is an enjoyable album that combines banjo dominated bluegrass influence with rock and jam band sensibility. What makes it more interesting, is that their songs often tend toward philosophical lyrics.”—WVIA, The Graham Album Reviews, George Graham


Debuted at #44 on The Alt Country Specialty Chart Top 50 this week!

“A funkadelic,

boot-stompin’ bluegrass boogie

Borrow happiness”—”Livin’” Haiku Review, Gary Schwind

”… uproarious, debaucherous like I’ve been transported to the Wild West and I’m in a saloon, throwing back shots. It has a timeless feeling and an uncanny ability to transport you to a different place.” —Jammin’ on The Grass [Aaron Stein Interviews Ben Majeska]


“Tinkering and playing off of one another’s music and ideas has shaped many songs in Armchair

Boogie’s repertoire, and often the memories that come from these days feed into what their favorite songs to perform together are… Similar to how jazz musicians play, learning how and being able to play with improvisation keeps the brain active, and creates entirely unique sounds, such as with their new song “Skippin’ Town.’” —Ion Indie Magazine [Kira Doman Interviews Augie Doherty]

Getting To Know Armchair Boogie [All That Jam Interviews Ben Majeska]

Hear more from Ben as he talks with WSUM’s GreenArrowRadio about Saturday’s hometown album release show at Stoughton Opera House.

Visit for a full list of tour dates, and keep up with their adventures on and


The good word of boogie continues to spread like wildfire, They released their third full-length studio album, Hard Times & Deadlines, March 15, 2024!

stream/buy here–deadlines