In the last music in review I mentioned how the strange and delightful Florence and the Machine won best new artist at the 2010 Grammys; I am not finished talking about that. I like Florence and the Machine, obviously, I just did a Music in Review on her and stated as much, but I do not feel she was the best new artist in 2010. No, that honour should have gone to Mumford and Sons.
I first heard of Mumford and Sons from my friend Oscar at work. Oscar is a very hard working and very respectful, all round great guy, so befriending him was easy and enjoyable. Like anyone foolish enough to befriend me he was dragged into a long conversation about music, which fortunately for both of us we enjoyed. Oscar as a lover of guitar, when prompted by me to recommend a song or two, he strongly recommended Mumford and Sons, since their guitar work was amazing. Indeed, it is. I was a few months ahead of the crowd discovering Mumford and Sons thanks to Oscar, and I always try to give a shout to my friends and colleagues whenever I can.
Mumford and Sons were formed in 2007 but since their first album debuted in 2009 they qualified as a new artist in 2010. Don’t ask me why the years don’t add up, I don’t know. Named after front man Marcus Mumford, this British rock band has come out strong in their debut album “Sign No More.” Like so many times in the past I am confronted with the problem of picking one song. It would be easy and appropriate if I just said “’Sign No More’ is a great album, go get it.” In fact that’s exactly what I am going to say;
“Sign No More” is a great album, go get it.
Since I am only going to link one song, it might as well be “Little Lion Man,” it may be their best. I love the guitar, I love the sound of acoustic stings; the tab of a pick on the pick guard, and the whimpers a guitar makes from fingers moving up and down the neck from fret to fret, pretty much everything about the guitar is perfect. One of the things I most dislike about modern music is that all these personal touches are lost, they give music character and personality, and it is always wonderful when new bands embrace the true art of music. I love the guitar in “Little Lion Man,” I love the Irish sound, (I’ve always had a soft spot for anything Irish, my name is Colin D’Arcy Kelly after all) even though Mumford and Sons are a British group I feel confident in saying there are Irish roots in them, if not in their blood then at least in their musical influences.
I found it truly charming that a band like Mumford and Sons exists in this day and age, few highly talented musicians attempt this kind of song writing anymore, and any fewer of them get any acclaim. Mumford and Sons being nominated by the Grammys was as much of a surprise to me as anything else, and this somewhat restores my faith in humanity that people have not completely forgone good music, or taste. In truth they should have won, of all the bands nominated Mumford and Sons was defiantly the most worthy of the title “best new artist,” but I do take comfort in knowing the second most worthy won in the end. The important thing is Justin Beiber did not win, how embarrassed would we be, as a species if ten years from now we look back and thought “oh god, we gave that kid an award as the ‘best’ of that year?” The answer is very embarrassed.
Mumford and Sons is an exciting new band, and they are exciting because in many regards they are a traditional Celtic folk band, I love all things Celtic, so this is nothing but good news to me, and I am sure you will agree it is good news and good times for everyone with Mumford and Sons around.
Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.
- Colin Kelly