If you've spent much time here at all, you probably have noticed a certain affinity for the music of a UK quartet, Mumford & Sons. My 15-year-old daughter introduced me to the group, whose first album Sigh No More debuted in 2009.
I first listened to the band because it was rock and bluegrass (which I call newgrass, but am not sure if that's a real term or not; instead I've heard new folk) and I'm really a honkey-tonk woman at heart. I got the song Awake My Soul enough to know that I loved every. single. thing. about it. Then we took the album with us on a recent road trip to D.C. and I became a true fan.
It was lyrics like this that threw me into the full-fledged-fan column:
Serve God love me and men / This is not the end / Live unbruised we are friends / And I'm sorry / I'm sorry
(Sigh No More)
(Sigh No More)
Love that will not betray you, / dismay or enslave you, / It will set you free / Be more like the man / you were made to be. / There is a design, / An alignment to cry, / At my heart you see, / The beauty of love / as it was made to be (Sigh No More)
I mean I could have told you from their sound alone that these guys were young and passionate and unashamed. What I hadn't realized until I had time to listen straight through and cranked up was that their sound is an authentic accompaniment to their unabashed exuberance for friendship, life, spirit and hope. Find me another band right now making the kind of unique sound with the same level of intelligent, poetic, unapologetic sense of hope, well I'll psot about them next week.
This is not to say that every song focuses on the good things in life only:
Spare me your judgements and spare me your dreams / Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams / I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind / Alone in the wind and the rain you left me / It's getting dark darling, too dark to see / And I'm on my knees, and your faith in shreds, it seems
Still, the insistence of hope:
But plant your hope with good seeds / Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds / Rain down, rain down on me
Look over your hills and be still / The sky above us shoots to kill / Rain down, rain down on me / But I will hold on /
I will hold on hope
(Thistle and Weeds)
When I finally got my head in the game and started researching the group of men making this music, I was not surprised (but still relieved) to learn the friendship and unaffected love of music that binds them together:
Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices. They are staunch friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane - who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business. They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon, and their incredible energy draws us in quickly to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men.
That write-up on their website plus Marcus' blog posts urging his fans to read G.K. Chesteron and I'm a googly-eyed groupie.
I spend a good deal of energy trying to convince my musician friends who have an ear for good music, but kind of stopped developing it about the time Purple Rain was topping the charts, that banjo makes rock even better. And fiddles. And, oh my Lord, even Jimmy Page would acknowledge that the accordian is the new double-neck guitar. Mostly, I keep gushing on the music of Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and - now - Mumford & Sons and they keep reminiscing about Van Halen.
No matter. I'm going to keep listening and loving every minute. I hope if I keep preaching the newgrass gospel, a few converts will come along with me. How about you?
What new-found glories have you discovered lately? I'm opening up the link-sharing on Fridays for all of your great finds.
Bloggers, use the Simply Linked function below to share the link from your post with us. I'd be honored if you included a link back to me on your blog. Not a blogger? Share with us through the comment feature! Neither of these work for you? I also accept carrier pigeons.