Over the past few years, somehow, someway, retro folk has made it’s way back into the hearts and minds of music lovers across the globe, reaching heights it hasn’t really seen since Bob Dylan was strumming an acoustic guitar and singing about the times were a changing. Alas, two short years ago, a little band from England called Mumford & Sons changed that. Armed with two strong singles in “The Cave” and their breakthrough “Little Lion Man” off Sigh No More. The album title accurately describes how some folkies felt about the revival of the genre
Emerging from the West London folk scene (which also includes Laura Marling and Noah and The Whale), the band formed in 2007 with members Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums), "Country" Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, dobro, guitar), and Ted Dwane (vocals, string bass, drums, guitar). It’s hard for a relatively complicated combination of instruments like these to resonate with the mainstream, yet they manage to do exactly that. In addition, the band has said that writers including Shakespeare, Homer, Plato and G.K. Chesterton influence their image-evoking lyrics. Not exactly Jagger and Richards, but nonetheless, it works with the music.
Many may not remember, but the band’s first EP, Love Your Ground, built them the core indie folk following that was necessary for them to gain street cred. A 2008 UK tour put them on the map while 2009 saw them play the States while experimenting with a few new songs that became Sigh No More. Interestingly enough, the one song that made the album from the band’s EP was “Little Lion Man,” proving not only that did have a hit on their hands before the public got a hold of it, but also they were onto something from the get go.
In three short years the band managed to grow from local favorite to multi-million album selling Grammy winners. Despite not looking necessarily the part, the band have won over fans and in the process, become style icons. As we discussed in our album review of their sophomore effort, Babel, the band looks more like they’d be more comfortable in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath instead of being on-stage wowing legions of music fans.
This upcoming tour is taking Mumford & Sons across the globe and will have them playing some of the biggest venues of their short career. Even with their growing profile, the band remains uncomfortable with the limelight. Just last week Dwane expressed to NME his discomfort with the hot glare of the spotlight, preferring to hang out in the countryside instead. Judging by the minimal number of paparazzi shots, it can be inferred that Mumford feels the same. No matter how you cut it though, the band that brought folk and bluegrass to the masses has no intentions of letting up and promises to be a fixture on your radio and tour calendar for years to come.