With the holidays well behind us I can put away the Christmas records and concentrate on the music that Nephew 2 gave me over Thanksgiving. First up: British folk rockers Mumford and Sons.
The year was 1989. The Wife and I were sitting in a pub somewhere in Ireland and in the background was playing some delightful folksy-rocking tunes that sounded authentically Irish. We were enjoying it immensely until the pub management noticed there were some Americans in the room and put on some Michael Jackson.
I never found out who that band was that we were listening to that night, but some 20 years later I have found the next best thing: Mumford and Sons. Marcus Mumford and three other musicians that I don’t believe are really his sons formed the group in 2007, so I’m guessing it’s not the same band — maybe Mumford’s dad and uncles.
“Sigh No More,” the band’s first full-length studio album, was released in the States in 2010, which means I’m roughly 2 years late hopping on the Mumford and Sons bandwagon. I’m used to it. I didn’t discover Dylan until I was in my mid-20s.
Mumford and his boys work with traditionally bluegrass/folk instruments — banjo, stand-up bass, mandolin — but with a rocking edge. Mum has a great, gravelly voice and the boys can put together some tight harmonies.
You know you’re dealing with a special album when the first three songs are all great. It doesn’t happen that often but it does here — “Sigh No More,” “The Cave” and “Winter Winds” are really fun tunes. Heck, they’re pretty much all fun tunes.
The standout tune is “Little Lion Man,” which was the first single. The first time I listened through the album I wasn’t paying that close attention until this song came on, and whoa, I started paying attention thereafter.
Between this and the new John Hiatt, my 2012 is starting off on the right notes.