The sounds of the early 1960s folk music revival float on the air like a strange, intoxicating perfume in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a boldly original, highly emotional journey through Greenwich Village nightclubs, a bleak New York winter, and one man’s fraught efforts to reconcile his life and his art. A product of the same deeply personal end of the Coens’ filmmaking spectrum previously responsible for the likes of “Barton Fink” and “A Serious Man,” this darkly comic musical drama with an elliptical narrative and often brusque protagonist won’t corral the same mass audience as “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit.” But strong reviews — for the pic itself and its stupendous soundtrack — should make this December release an awards-season success for distrib CBS Films.
As they did with the 1940s Hollywood setting of “Barton Fink,” the Coens have again taken a real time and place and freely made it their own, drawing on actual persons and events for inspiration, but binding themselves only to their own bountiful imaginations. The result is a movie that neatly avoids the problems endemic to most period movies — and biopics in particular — in favor of a playful, evocatively subjective reality. Perhaps most surprising to some viewers will be the pic’s surfeit of something the Coens have sometimes been accused of lacking: deep, heartfelt sincerity.
Where Clifford Odets provided the inspiration for “Fink’s” eponymous playwright, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) has been similarly modeled on the late Dave Van Ronk, a mainstay of the ’60s New York folk revival whose vaunted reputation among musicians never translated into the commercial success enjoyed by many of his contemporaries. Like Van Ronk, the pic’s Davis is a guitar-strumming balladeer whose repertoire consists mostly of vintage American roots music of the sort catalogued by musicologists John and Alan Lomax as they traversed the southern U.S. One such tune, the haunting “Dink’s Song” (aka “Fare Thee Well”) becomes the pic’s melancholy refrain in a version purportedly cut by Davis and his former partner, Mike (British musician Marcus Mumford), before the latter’s suicide rendered Llewyn a solo act… _____ Click here to read the rest of the article on Variety.com.
Below is an exclusive video of Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford performing “Dink’s Song” live at Caffe Vivaldi in New York City on January 10, 2012 (click here for a rebloggable version).
Mumford & Sons make their debut appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in our next issue. Senior writer Brian Hiatt shadows the group as they finish the most recent leg of their U.S. tour in Camden, New Jersey, then hangs out with them on their London home turf, including backstage at the Brit Awards. The band speaks openly about faith, their imitators and the improbable rise of an acoustic band in a digital age. “I have no idea how my phone works,” says frontman Marcus Mumford, “Whereas, when I see an acoustic guitar played with gusto, I understand how it works.”
I think it’s brilliant that that music is catching people’s attention. It’s beautiful… And I think these acts nowadays are keeping people’s ears open to the idea of the soulfulness of folk-style music and acoustic music, and you get a little bit closer to the musician, to the writer, at times. It doesn’t have to be about them. I don’t think it’s about authenticity at all. It’s just about the idea that style can sometimes bring you in and bring you closer, like someone sitting at a piano can.
- Jack White, when asked, “What do you think of acoustic bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, who play acoustic music and are making a huge mark on the charts today?”
Justin Timberlake has confirmed he’s recorded a collaboration with the lead singer of Mumford & Sons for his new flick.
The Mirrors singer revealed he’s teamed-up with Marcus Mumford on a tune for his latest movie, Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which also stars Mumford’s wife, actress Carey Mulligan.
Revealing the news during an interview with Capital FM, Timberlake stated: “OK I can tell you this. There’s a Coen brothers film coming out soon that I was lucky enough to work with Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan.
“And coincidentally I did work with Marcus Mumford on the soundtrack, so I became very good friends with them.”
The former NSYNC star continued: “Marcus and myself, we all kind of worked on the music together and I don’t know any other world where we would have the opportunity to collaborate like that but it was so much fun.
“So not only will that be a great movie, but the music to it will be fantastic.”
“We’re fucking knackered,” says Marcus Mumford, sipping a coffee on a leather couch backstage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center yesterday. He sounds hoarse and a little dazed from Mumford & Sons’ biggest weekend ever: After playing their first of two shows at the Barclays Center last Wednesday, they flew to L.A., where they played for Bruce Springsteen at a Grammy tribute event, performed during the live Grammy broadcast – and won Album of the Year for their second LP, Babel. ”When we released [2009’s] Sigh No More, our manager said, ‘We’re probably gonna sell between 100,000 and 150,00 records.’ And we were like, ‘That’s amazing!’” says Mumford. “Since then, everything has gotten more ridiculous, fantastical and mind-fucking.”
Sigh No More ended up becoming a double-platinum smash, creating intense pressure for the band’s follow-up. “As we were making Babel, Sigh No More’s shadow kept getting bigger and bigger. There was a lot in us that was like, ‘That’s OK, fuck it, Babel will be the disappointing second child – like a lot of us are, actually,’” the singer says with a big laugh. “And that’s fine. We were making it really believing it and thinking about that as much as possible – and so it’s really sweet now to see it do its thing as well. That’s crazy for us.”
Coming from the U.K., the band didn’t take the Grammys completely seriously. “I actually said to Adele she should read out our name no matter who it was,” says keyboardist Ben Lovett. Adds bassist Ted Dwane, “It felt really weird. We’d been [to the Grammys] a few times. The physiological experience of sitting there and being shortlisted and calling out someone else’s name was rehearsed. But this third time, we won. They called us up. And it was the big one, as well. Really crazy.”
Marcus Mumford says he doesn’t pay too much attention to mainstream music, but he found himself surprised by the night’s performances. “Bruno Mars was fucking amazing. He’s a badass. When he played with Sting, that was sick. I’ve heard so many things about Frank Ocean. Now I really want to go hear his record.”
The band were also stunned to meet heroes like Elton John and Jack White (“He was so nice – I was so surprised,” says Mumford). Says Dwane, “I remember seeing the Black Keys at a venue twice the size of this dressing room. I was a die-hard fan. It’s just so weird being in a category with them. Sitting next to them, these people I’ve had posters of. I was in tears.”
No one loomed larger for banjo player Winston Marshall than Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. “It meant a lot to me,” he says. “I was a bit too young to see Rage before their hiatus, but I went to every single Audioslave show in London. I went to three in a row once. I fucking loved that band. I loved Tom Morello. To have him liking our music – apparently he’d been to our gigs – for me was just fucking surreal. We talk to these people, and whether it’s fucking Jack White or Elton John, they’re just lovely people who love music as much as you do.” _____ Click here to read this article on RollingStone.com.
Hello! Firstly, you are certainly not an idiot. An article was recently published on The Onion, a satirical media outlet, that reported all the members of Mumford & Sons bought each other mandolins for Christmas:
The article, having been published on a satirical website, is only intended for entertainment purposes and is not, in fact, true. It is only meant to be funny.
It should also be noted that Love Your Ground was actually Mumford & Sons’ second EP. This was the band’s debut EP. #factchecking
Thank you for the question, and I hope this clears up any confusion!
Folk/rock quartet Mumford & Sons earn top Rock Album applause for a second consecutive year, although with a different leading title than last year. Babel is 2012’s No. 1 Rock Album, highlighted by a debut week of 600,000 copies sold (Oct. 13), marking the largest sales frame for a rock act since 2008. In 2011, the group topped the year-end Rock Albums survey with Sigh No More. The act is the first since Billboard began crowning a yearly top Rock Album in 2006 to manage back-to-back No. 1 rankings. _____
Various ArtistsThe Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond (Universal Republic)
The LumineersThe Lumineers (Dualtone)
Black PrairieA Tear In The Eye Is A Wound In The Heart (Sugar Hill)
Rayna GellertOld Light (Story Sound)
J.P. Harris & The Tough ChoicesI’ll Keep Calling (Cow Island)
Jay William HendersonThe Sun Will Burn Our Eyes (self-released)
Joan ShelleyGinko (Ol Kentuck)
Click here to join Daytrotter today in order to download the Mumford & Sons and Friends Daytrotter session. They have a holiday special going on and, if you buy an annual membership for only $24, you automatically get a $20 credit toward anything in the Daytrotter store!
Winston Marshall, the banjo player in the hit folk rock band, has confirmed that their future release is already in production.
The new record’s framework is in place and fans can expect to hear tracks from it soon.
“Will we wait years for the next album? F**k, no. You heard it here first. We’ve just started working on new songs, got a rehearsal studio,” Winston explained to NME magazine. “They’re bones of songs, but really exciting bones. Sturdy bones.”
Mumford & Sons have had huge success in 2012, following the release of their second record Babel. Winston discussed some of the highlights of the year, including performing at the Hollywood Bowl.
“We played some f**king cool places this year - we did a gig in Kentucky, on the oldest working steamboat. The Hollywood Bowl gigs were special. On the first night [of two] we were so over excited we rushed through the first half of the set,” Winston remembered. “If Marcus [Mumford, singer] goes really fast, I can’t keep up and everyone realises I can’t actually play the banjo.”
Babel hit stores in September and has thrust the band into the limelight in America, where it sold 600,000 copies in the first week of release. _____ Click here to read this article at The Belfast Telegraph.
Thursday 15 November 2012 11.50 EST Words: Tom Lamont Photo: Barry J. Holmes From The Guardian:
Soundcheck for the band, today, takes place at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. It is late afternoon and while the arena’s 17,000 outdoor seats are still empty the four members of Mumford & Sons – prospering British folk band, in the middle of a long tour of Australia, the US and the UK, their newly released album Babel a smash on all fronts – wander to centre stage. First singer and guitarist Marcus Mumford, wearing a black suit, then bassist Ted Dwane, in leather bomber and T-shirt. Next bearded banjo player Winston Marshall, his blue flannel shirt hanging loose, and pianist Ben Lovett, wrapped in a woollen coat.
Mumford begins to perform, a murmured cover of a country song, and as the others join in the rhythm of the music gets to them. Dwane lowers his body at the waist, knees out. Watching from the stands I wonder if it’s a fleeting thing, an itch or a bit of back ache … But Mumford, infected, begins a fancy kickstep. Soon Marshall is doing an elaborate foot-to-foot jig, and then they’re all bounding around. Shoulder dips. Yee-ha faces. It’s an impromptu hoedown.
Having spent the day in the company of this thoughtful, friendly, uncommonly levelheaded band – charmed, completely – a protective part of me sort of wishes they wouldn’t hoedown. Four polite Englishmen in their middle 20s, feigning like firewater drunks in a Eugene O’Neill play: it’s exactly the stuff that makes their detractors groan. Since forming in 2007 Mumford & Sons have hard-toured their way to a vast market for throaty folk that’s strong on banjo and bass drum. They have released two enormous albums. But, wow, do they take some knocks back home.
“They look like fucking Amish people,” Liam Gallagher said last year. “As rock and roll as a blue rinse,” was the the Sun’s more recent take. An October blogpost on the NME’s website, entitled Why Do People Hate Mumford & Sons So Much?, quoted extensively from a Facebook page called I Hate Mumford & Sons. They’re inauthentic, runs the general complaint. They went to fee-paying London schools and now they’re all about heels and waistcoats and hoedowns.
What do Mumford & Sons think? “England’s just very cynical. Like I am. Like we all are,” says Marshall. “I think we’re all guilty of it as British citizens,” says Mumford, “if something gets big we go … ugh.”
There is a plausible argument that this band are the most successful in the world right now – Babel shifted 600,000 copies in its first week in the US, making it the fastest-seller of the year. The album before that, 2009’s Sigh No More, went multiple platinum. And here they are, commendably (you might say perversely) taking a share of the blame for the stick they get, on national-character grounds. “We get accused of inauthenticity because we play the instruments we play,” says Marshall, whose furious banjo work probably prompts the most carping. But he points to the example of legendary British guitarist Peter Green. “He’s from Bethnal Green – and he’s this fucking incredible blues guitarist. Nothing fucking authentic about that, right? But actually there is. He loves it. It’s what he’s good at. It’s not like he’s saying he’s from the Delta. It’s not like we’re saying anything like that.”
“The authenticity thing has never been an issue for me,” says Mumford. “Not since I came to the realisation that Dylan, who’s probably my favourite artist ever, the richest artist for me, didn’t give a shit about authenticity. He changed his name. And modelled himself on Woody Guthrie. And lied to everyone about who he was.”
Mumford is outfitted today like his hero, the worn dark suit ideally Dylan, so too the black hat deep-positioned on his head. Backstage at the Hollywood Bowl this hat will get a compliment from a bystander and Mumford will explain that its appearance is the result of many weeks campaigning. His wife, the actor Carey Mulligan, took some persuading on it …
Mumford and Mulligan married in April, and she is here at the venue today, merrily flitting about the wings, wearing a jumper with a large letter M on it. Mumford is wary about his private life, and prefers not to speak on the record about Mulligan. I relate the following story as to how the couple got together from other reports. They knew each other as kids and were briefly pen pals before falling out of touch. Then in 2011 the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, a mutual friend, reintroduced them and within a year they were engaged. At their wedding in the spring Mumford’s father, a vicar, conducted the service.
Given that the frontman’s parents are prominent Christians (Jon and Ele Mumford founded the UK wing of the evangelical “church planting” organisation Vineyard Church), and also that the band’s lyrics feature ample spiritual deliberation, it’s no great surprise that Mumford & Sons are sometimes considered a Christian band. Marshall and Dwane tell me they were approached by a fan, not so long ago, who wanted to know if this was how they defined themselves. “We said we’re not all Christian, so we can’t be a Christian band,” Marshall says. “We’re not all religious,” Dwane says. “In fact none of us are, really. We, er, we have a full spectrum of beliefs.” Marshall, I sense, is at the skeptical end of this spectrum. He appends another story about a different encounter, six months ago, when he was asked by a fan if they could pray together. Marshall recalls his awkward refusal: “Erm. Sorry dude.”
They’re one of those bands who pinch bits out of books to texture their songs – from the Bible and from elsewhere, their first album launching with a quote from Much Ado About Nothing, for example, and the newer record featuring a borrowed line from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. They’re charged with posh-lad pretentiousness as a result, though I don’t know it’s all that uncommon for bands to plunder snatches of lyrics from wider culture. Before meeting the band I asked Mantel about the steal from Wolf Hall (Mumford having admitted to it in a BBC radio interview) and the novelist told me: “Of course they’re welcome. I have millions of lines.” If our incumbent Booker winner has a sense of humour about it, my instinct is that the rest of us should too.
As for the biblical stuff: “I don’t know many artists who’ve managed to go a career without bringing these things up,” says Dwane. “Saying the word ‘God’, ‘Jesus’ – it happens in a million rock songs.” Nonetheless some strange theories have been floated. For example that Mumford & Sons’ lyrics closely mirror the writings of the Pope (the Catholic Herald, 2010). Or that the band’s ploy might be to “get a following and then reveal the great truth later” (the Daily Mirror, 2010).If the band are working to a secret evangelical agenda then Marshall, at least, has got his doctrines confused. Today he hands me a leaflet he has picked up that advertises access to “the wisdom of the universe”. Given that “there’s fuck all else to do in LA”, he says, he spent the morning wandering the L Ron Hubbard museum in West Hollywood. “I’m looking for answers,” he says, pulling a wild-eyed face that slowly gives to a grin.
Their music being so earnest, so bloody grave, I’m surprised to find Mumford & Sons such light company. Interview bands who have made it big and you get to sense which are only good at containing monstrous self-love, or appalling self-doubt, or a fizzing mixture of the two, for the exact duration of a promotional commitment (and sometimes a shorter period than that). You also get an idea as to which have kept their humour and some hold on normality.
The Spice Girls ballad 2 Become 1 gets a layered, four-man rendition while Mumford & Sons kill time before a photoshoot. The irreverent Marshall is described by Lovett, accurately, as “always looking like he’s won a competition to stand next to the band”. Mumford tells a story about someone squealing in recognition, not long ago, while he was waiting in line at a cash machine. His hand automatically went for the autograph pen … In fact he was being told he looked exactly like Alec Baldwin. (There is a striking resemblance.)
They’re funny with me and generous with their time and, who knows, it might be because way back it was a press interview that accidentally got Mumford’s songwriting career underway. He was about 20 at the time and a dropout from Edinburgh University (“not very popular” there) when he got session work as a drummer with Laura Marling. She was then a little known singer-songwriter whose career was about to take off, and in a small London studio Mumford recorded the drum track for Marling’s breakthrough album, Alas I Cannot Swim. When Marling was called away to do interviews that day, Mumford was left in a studio booth for an hour and a half, where he sat and wrote White Blank Page, later a central track on Sigh No More and a real heart-wringer, all about romantic frustration.
Throughout our conversation, Mumford talks of Marling only as an admired fellow musician – but anyone who follows these sorts of artists knows that Mumford and Marling became a couple for a time, from some point after Alas I Cannot Swim was finished until about 2010. He speaks fondly of their shared musical beginnings. “We toured a lot, just me and her. Have you seen Force 10 From Navarone? I was like the bomb expert, Miller, had my little box of tricks – [drum]sticks, a mandolin. We used an accordion case as a kick-drum, made snares out of paper stuck on tables. Laura would never say anything on stage so I’d do all the chatting. That got my stage banter sharpened.”
Mumford approached Marling’s manager, Adam Tudhope, with White Blank Page and a few other tracks he had written, and Tudhope took him on. The band gathered around Mumford from there. Lovett was an old friend from St Paul’s school in west London, Marshall he had first met as a teenager then reencountered in Edinburgh; Dwane they all knew through crossover work with Marling.
Under the new name Mumford & Sons (a bit of nu-folk whimsy: no blood relations here), their earliest gigs, remembers Lovett, “were awful. But we were energetic, and ambitious, and gave everything we could, and that got us a long way.” The band toured a great deal from the start, and have never really reined in that early zeal for booking new dates. By Lovett’s count they’ve done 10 separate tours of the US alone. Relentless touring has been a constant through all sorts of milestones: the release of an early EP on Chess Club Records, signing with Island Records here and Glassnote in America; Sigh No More being nominated for a Mercury Prize, and winning a Brit; then a storming TV appearance at the 2011 Grammys, where they played with Bob Dylan, pushing album sales past 1m in the US and being invited to play the White House in March.
Today at the Hollywood Bowl the news is still very fresh that Babel has repeated the feat: a million copies sold in America, only this time much quicker, about six weeks after release. There are bands out there who would find this a reasonable excuse to open the champagne. To fill the nearest pool with it, for backflips. When I mention the new achievement to Dwane, he hasn’t heard about it. “But no, that’s awesome.” Mumford’s clueless too. “But no, that’s great, that’s great.” The singer showed more animation telling me about a last-minute decision to substitute Everton’s Marouane Fellaini out of his Fantasy Football team.
A casual disinterest in sales figures – is this for real? Lovett is probably more industry-minded than the others (away from Mumford & Sons, he is the co-founder of an independent label, Communion, which has recent Mercury nominees Michael Kiwanuka and Ben Howard on its roster) and he has heard about Babel’s sales triumph. But he says: “A lot of bad music sells a million copies, I don’t think it’s a good litmus test for whether things are going well. I don’t think there’s anything good that can come out of knowing. In the same way that we don’t pay any attention to any of the negative stuff that comes our way, it’s just as important not to pat ourselves on the back when commercial success is being talked about.”
The band, he tells me, want to have the freedom to evolve as they make a third album, a fourth. Also to be able to do small-venue tours as well as big ones. “And even just registering [Babel’s sales] you would naturally, subconsciously, be striving to continue to go that same way. The next album, the next couple of albums after this, we know that it’s going to take a musical turn.”
I touch on this with Mumford, and we discuss how his songwriting might alter given his recent wedding to Mulligan. The band’s most arresting tracks, for me, are the lovelorn ones, such as White Blank Page – and what effect will a happy marriage have on that? Mumford gives a small chuckle, and concedes I might have a point. “We had a little writing session the other day. The other guys were coming up with more ideas than I was.”
I ask Dwane what the new material sounds like. “Sort of glory-days Elton John,” he says. I ask Marshall, who says “it sounds a bit like the National, and a bit like the Band, without doing either of them justice”. They tell me other things I’m not allowed to write, including news of a change in instrument infrastructure that should quieten a few groans.
Personally I could handle Mumford & Sons working in something Bill Withers-ish, too, if their performance at the end of soundcheck is anything to go by. The sun has by now gone down, the gig only hours away, and an army of event staff are moving through the 17,000 seats to make final preparations. Some nod their heads as the band play a cover of Lean On Me, quite beautifully, into the near-empty arena.
No hoedown interlude on this one, but after a verse of Withers’ song Mumford starts messing with the lyrics. He baits the sound crew: “Lean on me / while you figure out / which button does what.” And then he teases his bandmates, or seems to, about the unlikeliness of their current position, these four Londoners making American-flavoured folk and pretty well conquering an industry with it.
“Lean on me / while we figure out / what we’re doing here anyway / It’s all a big accident / Lean on me …” _____ Click here to read the article at The Guardian.
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