Who said folk can’t rock?

Who said folk can’t rock?

By: Emma Jackson

Mumford and Sons blasts onto the music scene with their refreshing, and passionate, folk-rock beat!


Mumford and Sons (M&S) debut album Sigh No More, contrary to its title, makes the listener sigh with contentment while filling them with the same amount of passion embedded in the music.

Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane banded together to form “Mumford and Sons” in December 2007. The four young men from West London, all in their early twenties, united for the single purpose of, “making music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously”[1]. Each of them have extraordinary musical ability-each member contributing to vocals (making for some amazing harmonies) and playing a number of different instruments. Among these include the bango, string bass, dobro, mandolin, keyboard, guitar, drums and accordion.

The band doesn’t claim to belong to any particular genre, the closest  being “folk rock”. Strong influences of blue grass, folk, country and rock can be found in every one of M&S songs. It is a relief to know that- in a continually shrinking world which has, as a result, spawned a generic and commercialised global culture- something good can come from this smashing together of different musical identities. M&S have managed to avoid sounding like everybody else and have instead created something truly original.

M&S’s essential focus is on the intimacy and energy of live music- ensuring extensive touring [2] around their home continent as well as abroad (including America and India). Fortunately for those countries not yet on the list of touring destinations, M&S’s debut album manages to capture the spirit and atmosphere of a live viewing. M&S faster tracks, with their rapid bluegrass pulse, demands all-out jamming. These tracks give the listener no choice but to rise to their feet for a little foot-stamping, head-banging and body-rocking. The slower ballads are equally moving- in a more figurative rather than literal way.

Whatever the tempo, there is always one constant: passion. As a member of a generation that is continually being accused of apathy and indifference towards serious issues, it is wonderfully refreshing to listen to a bunch of 20-something-year-olds bellowing their lungs out like they actually give two ticks about something. The album takes the listener through the same cathartic journey of the writer’s experiences of intense emotion; ranging from “a swelling rage”, to anguish, to regret and ending with a sense of peace and bliss in the final track  After the Storm. What M&S seem to care about are fundamental truths we can all relate to, namely; the experience of being alive.

The key to M&S success is in the sincerity and honesty of their lyrics. Being a firm believer of the line, “a song is only as good as its lyrics” this is one aspect that I pay particular attention to. M&S have managed to fuse the fervour of their instruments to their impassioned yet simple words.

If M&S continue to make the music which they love, their following will only grow. These young lads have got something special to offer the world of music, something more than just a good base line and a crazy tune, something a couple of white English boys from West London are not expected to have—these boys have got soul!


If you like M&S you might like:

Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Jay Jay Pistolet, Noah and the Whale, aKing, Alessi’s Ark, Sons of Noel and Adrian, Peggy Sue, Pete Roe, The Cutaway [3].


Shortlisted on BBC’s “Sound of 2009”;London ICA show which sold out in 24 hours; Best Band at the 3rd Annual BalconyTV Music Video Awards in Dublin on 3 July 2009 [3]






Keyword tags: Mumford and Sons; folk rock; Marcus Mumford; Country Winston; Ben Lovett; Ted Dwane; bango; mandolin; Little Lion Man; Sigh no more; after the storm; west london



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