The Music That Paved The Way For Mumford & Sons
The case can be made that Mumford & Sons is the biggest thing in all of music right now, with Babel winning the Grammy for Album of the Year and their worldwide sales rivaling all other artists. This is a weird reality for many roots fans who fell into favor with acoustic music many years ago.
Roots music has always been a quiet, shy sphere of the music world, not really craving popularity or hype. Meanwhile Mumford’s wild success has some talking about a roots backlash, and has opened up the possibility of an impending crash in the popularity arch that could leave elements of the roots world feeling like a fad, like 60’s folk or late 90’s swing.It all makes you wonder if Mumford’s music wouldn’t be better received in some circles if it just wasn’t so damn popular.
Many of the bold changes in the direction of popular music begin with artists that are too fey, too polarizing to become popular themselves. So it takes others who understand how to soften music with sensibilities to make it accessible to the masses, and hopefully, if time is on their side, transect the popularity timeline, resulting in superstardom.
With Mumford & Sons, there were many other bands, artists, and events that set the table for their wild success, buttering up crowds, building an appreciation for acoustic roots music throughout varying demographics and origination points. Here are a few of them.
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O Brother Where Art Thou created its own roots music tempest and bluegrass revival when it was released in 2000, and since it originated in the cinematic world instead of the music world, its impact on popular culture was far reaching, finding its way down avenues that otherwise would not be exposed to roots music. From that big bloom, the seeds were planted that would later sprout and blossom into the Mumford & Sons’ ubiquitous, widespread appeal, making acoustic roots into full-blown popular music.
Old Crow Medicine Show was one of the main ingredients in both influencing the sound of Mumford & Sons, and setting the table for their mass appeal. Marcus Mumford says of Old Crow, “I first heard Old Crow’s music when I was, like, 16, 17, and that really got me into, like, folk music, bluegrass. I mean, I’d listened to a lot of Dylan, but I hadn’t really ventured into the country world so much. So Old Crow were the band that made me fall in love with country music.” Ketch Secor of Old Crow concurs, saying, “Those boys took the message and ran with it.”
Meanwhile Old Crow Medicine Show, and specifically their gold-certified song “Wagon Wheel” created the fervor for roots music that Mumford & Sons are currently feeding off of.
Old Crow Medicine Show might be the band named as Mumford’s primary influence, but when looking at the band from the standpoint of lineup, instrumentation, energy, and the emotional context of their lyricism, The Avett Brothers’ fingerprints can be found all over Mumford & Sons.
The easiest similarity to distinguish is how the two bands line up on stage. Scott Avett was one of the first acoustic roots frontmen to play a bass drum with his foot while standing at center stage, while his brother Seth played a hi-hat cymbal the same way. The brothers also had the propensity to move around stage behind different instruments, specifically the drums, just like Marcus Mumford does. The high, punk-esque energy The Avett Brothers bring to their show alongside a softening of the edges of roots music is something else Mumford emulates, as are their songs that seem to drip with emotionalism. This emotional approach to roots music is what separated The Avett Brothers from their bluegrass forebears when The Avetts started out in 2000; a full 7 years before Mumford & Sons’ first release.
Whereas Mumford & Sons’ rise has been meteoric, The Avett Brothers enacted a very slow build, van touring incessantly on a small club circuit until their infectious approach to roots music saw them graduate to small theaters, large theaters, and then signing with Rick Rubin in 2008, nearly a decade after they started out. The Avett Brothers approach, and the sweat equity they built from tireless touring over many years is at the very fabric of Mumford & Sons’ sound and success. Mumford is not an Avett Brothers rubber stamp, but it’s hard not to give The Avetts props for blazing a wide, clear path for them.
Bob Dylan is given great credit as a Mumford & Sons’ influence, and this is primarily evidenced in the poetic, and sometimes veiled nature of Mumford’s lyrical writing. In that same respect, Shakespeare and Plato are Mumford influences. Both characters and others from classical literature are originators of language that has appeared in Mumford & Sons songs. Marcus Mumford once said, “You can rip off Shakespeare all you like; no lawyer’s going to call you up on that one.” They also draw from American novelist John Steinbeck in their songs “Dust Bowl Dance” and “Timshel.”
The Devil Makes Three is never given enough credit for impacting the roots music revolution. It’s probably a stretch to say they had any direct influence on Mumford & Sons, but when The Devil Makes Three started in 2002, they were one of the very first bands, and virtually the only band on the West Coast that brought a high-energy, punk-inspired approach to acoustic roots music. Rarely spoken about east of the Mississippi or away from their native Vermont, The Devil Makes Three draws massive crowds in California and have inspired many spawns across the country. They are responsible for countless new acoustic roots fans, and helped allow the cross-continent permeation of Mumford mania.
Along with the obvious bluegrass greats like Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Flatt & Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Ralph Stanley, newer artists like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, The Civil Wars, Trampled by Turtles, The Hacksensaw Boys, Split Lip Rayfiled, Larry & His Flask, The .357 String Band, The Foghorn Stringband, The Wiyos, The Goddamn Gallows, Reverend Peyton, and many more laid a foundation for alternative roots music appreciation in America that Mumford & Sons now enjoys.
TX Music Jim
February 19, 2013 @ 10:27 am
Trig, nailed it with this article. can’t find fault one with your thoughts here. Never would have thought about o brother were art thou but being a succesful movie gave the music from it worldwide attention.
February 19, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
I remember when I saw them on ‘CMT Crossroads’ with Emmylou Harris not too long ago — Marcus said something about having been influenced by the ‘O Brother’ soundtrack in his teens or whatever.
Besides making me feel *old*, that comment has got me thinking — that soundtrack got big at a time when the late ’90s teen-pop boom was basically on its way out, and there seemed to be more of a hunger for authenticity in popular music (that is, people playing real instruments and such; I also recall a revival of garage-rock and the huge success of Norah Jones around the same time). But anyway, in the past few years or so, it feels as though we’ve been seeing this situation play out again, with folks like Adele and Mumford providing commercially viable alternatives to the likes of Bieber, One Direction, et al.
February 19, 2013 @ 11:04 am
Great article Trig, but one (to me anyway) omission is Split Lip Rayfield. They were playing high energy acoustic roots music, recording and touring in the late 90s, I saw them with BR549 in 1998, and they were the first band I’d seen to play acoustic roots, but give it the extra kick of energy and garner fans from the punk and alt. country scenes.
February 19, 2013 @ 11:23 am
I agree, glaring omission and I just added them above.
The problem with these types of articles is there’s always going to be someone left out because it’s always difficult to know where to draw the line of who to include. You start bombarding people with names, and the point of trying to create an avenue to music for people starts to be eroded. Split Lip Rayfield show have been on here regardless.
February 19, 2013 @ 8:50 pm
Nice mention of split lip. Trig have you ever checked out scroat belly? Kirk and Wayne from split lips’ prior band? Pretty dark stuff but definitely one of the most unique and polarizing bands ever
February 19, 2013 @ 9:12 pm
No I haven’t, but I will add them to the list. Thanks for the tip!
February 19, 2013 @ 11:31 am
I agree with your thought here. There are so many other roots bands that have been around for years that never got the attention they should have. One such example would be The Roadside Graves. They, at times, sound like Mumford before the fame. Thank you for this article.
February 19, 2013 @ 12:18 pm
I have thought of Avetts and Mumford as being of the same musical generation. I think I became aware of them around the same time – I was a little late to the Avetts, but heard Mumford before their first album from a British friend (and postings on myspace, if you can remember the site). To be fair, although they are a bit younger, Mumford paid their dues in small venues and pubs at home before making it here. Both bands have risen very quickly in the last few years.
Thanks for a great article tracing the threads, though!
February 19, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
I meant to add that the O Brother soundtrack was very popular in Britain – perhaps more so than here – when I spent a year working there in the early 2000s.
February 19, 2013 @ 12:43 pm
Don’t want it to come across that Mumford & Sons didn’t pay any dues. They may have not paid as many dues as other bands, but as you point out, they were around for a while before hitting it big.
February 19, 2013 @ 1:09 pm
first he gets blamed for donavon and now mumford i dunno which is worse
February 19, 2013 @ 1:21 pm
i think their real influences were the Corrs, U2 (post achtung baby) & coldplay
February 19, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Am I the only person that doesnt “get” Mumford & Sons? Maybe I havent been exposed to them enough, but what Ive heard, I just dont see what all the fuss is about.
February 19, 2013 @ 2:19 pm
…and that’s why they’re so popular.
February 20, 2013 @ 12:33 pm
Count me in the crowd that doesn’t quite “get it” with Mumford and Sons. I don’t dislike them, I won’t say anything disparaging about them… I just don’t get excited at the prospect of hearing them. But I’ve never seen em live. If I were to catch them at a festival, I might change my mind…who knows.
I am a big Avett Brothers fan however, but that’s because they’re local to me and I’ve seen em since the early days playing bars and small clubs. They’re so big now that they played Greensboro coliseum, less than an hour’s drive, but I passed because I didn’t want to fight the traffic and crowd. I’ll catch em again at Merlefest instead.
I remember seeing the Grammy awards show where AB and M&S played with Dylan and I actually thought the Avetts seemed a bit nervous or something, while M&S was almost flawless. I think that performance may have caused the uninitiated to look into them more.
February 20, 2013 @ 2:07 pm
It looked to me like The Avetts felt the need to separate themselves from Mumford in that context, and to present themselves as more accessible. I agree it probably wasn’t their best moment. They should have gone with the setup that got them there.
February 20, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
I’m with you on that. They aren’t bad, I just can’t make it through a whole song. I’ve not seen em live but I’ve seen them on TV. The Avetts are the same for me, the vocals are what kill it for me, they’re just too whiny. I put Ryan Bingham in that roots category and I think that guy kicks much ass. I was surprised he wasn’t in there.
Bigfoot is Real (seriously)
February 19, 2013 @ 2:12 pm
Thank you for not including the Pogues… seriously.
February 19, 2013 @ 2:14 pm
There are many roots music fans that are underwhelmed by them.
February 19, 2013 @ 2:15 pm
This was meant to be a response to Josh.
February 19, 2013 @ 3:55 pm
I kinda harp on this, but don’t forget Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn who were the leading lights of the little scene that birthed Mumford & Sons. They’re both great artists, and used to have Mumford open up for them.
February 19, 2013 @ 6:19 pm
Since the Old Crow Medicine Show seems to have copied the style of the Maddox Brothers and Rose song “Step It Up And Go”, I’d have to point to Rose and her siblings as the ultimate headwaters of the Mumford and Sons sound…
February 19, 2013 @ 11:39 pm
one person pipes up for split lip. wow. SMH,
thank you trig for putting DMT into the focus of one of your posts. if you know anything about tight harmonies, poignant lyrics, evocative themes and (as Hank III says) sorrow and woe. you will instantly and instinctively recognize DMT as a band that is both pushing country music forward and keeping it relevant, but also simultaneously staying true to its heritage and the tradition of what country music was about.
BTW Mumford and who ? OOOhh those guys i hear occasionally on the radio, because record execs are hoping to find the next big Nirvana to capitalize on and ruin.
February 19, 2013 @ 11:53 pm
btw the mumford song that is so popular………………. its mostly the chorus that is making the song memorable and striking gold with the cheesy, easy sentimental hooks .
dont believe me then watch this funny but too true video with hit maker Dave Grohl
Chris Lewis "Louie"
February 20, 2013 @ 9:26 am
I personally think where they became “huge” was when they appeared on an major awards show a couple years ago (can’t remember which one), but no one knew who they were before then. After that exposure, people realized there was great music out there other than what you hear on mainstream radio/TV. Someone obviously believed in them and game them an opening shot at the awards. I personally would like to know who that person is and give them a handshake for taking that risk and introducing the world to their music. I’m not a huge fan but have lots of respect for what they do. Now if we can find more people like that who can give other roots bands we all enjoy on this website a chance. Maybe more of the general public will realize there’s more out there if you look.
February 20, 2013 @ 9:35 am
It was on the Grammys in 2011. That was the year almost all the performers played a “medley” with other performers who were similar. Mumford played with The Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan. There’s so much irony in that performance because Mumford played with the lineup The Avetts used to feature mostly (upright bass, playing the bass drum with the foot, etc.) while the Avetts had electric bass and a drummer, something they rarely did up to that point.
A few months before that, Mumford played here in Austin at Stubb’s, which is the biggest venue you can play without playing one of the major theaters, and it was madness. They were already blowing up big, and it was really too small for them.
Really, that Grammy performance gave everyone the fingerprint of how much of an influence The Avett’s were on Mumford, but since the public really didn’t know either band at the time, nobody picked up on it.
February 20, 2013 @ 10:59 am
Like I said before, in another Mumford thread, I think we’re going to look back ten years from now and say “Gee, that music was just kind of, well, boring.” Mumford is a snooze fest to me.
As far as Bob Dylan and his influence go, I think his star continues to fall. It has come out over the last several years that he has borrowed (see plagiarized) so much (most?) of his material that it”™s impossible to tell whether he had some genius, or was just a really good copy cat, like the 19th century sculptors who produced near-perfect replicas of Michelangelo and Donatello”¦
Chris Lewis "Louie"
February 20, 2013 @ 11:24 am
You may be right as far as them being a snoozefest to some but I know personally that their music and Avett’s music has brought tons of new fans for bands such as Trampled by Turtles and others. I know first hand friends who would never listen to roots or country before, but because of Mumford and Sons are huge roots music fans now.
February 20, 2013 @ 12:15 pm
I don’t think thats a reason to like a band or see anything positive in them. I’m sure that Nine Inch Nails introduced a lot of people to Johnny Cash, and I know that pop country has introduced a lot of people to traditional country…
February 20, 2013 @ 1:23 pm
If it’s impossible to tell if Bob Dylan is a lyrical genius, or a genius at lifting lines, doesn’t that just sorta make him a genius anyway? He’s always been upfront about borrowing lines and melodies. Per his admission, it’s part of the folk process.
And, really, how different is that from remixing?
February 20, 2013 @ 2:01 pm
“He”™s always been upfront about borrowing lines and melodies. Per his admission, it”™s part of the folk process.”
No. The point is that he NEVER admitted to lifting lines from poets and other artists until he was called on the carpet about it. Its one thing to name drop another artist, or refer to one of their prior works, its a wholly different thing to lift entire lines and stanzas from obscure poets, no longer in print, and passing it off as your own, original work, with no mention of the other artist. Thats not part of the “folk tradition” (a lame fall-back, to begin with).
His painting were even found to have been basic forgeries, where he took semi-famous photographs and simply replicated them on canvas, without crediting the photographer.
February 20, 2013 @ 2:14 pm
February 20, 2013 @ 3:12 pm
So it’s only his fault for getting caught? Or is it his fault for using the obscure stuff that required some effort? He never admitted to stealing lines from old folk songs that stole lines from other songs that stole melodies from other songs that stole… Call it what you want, or call it lame, but everything on this planet that has been crafted by human hands is a knock off of something else, credited or not. We have managed to live in the short blip of time in which ideas were afforded protections and rights. And you know what, it’s coming to an end again, through Open Source, Creative Commons, etc. It would be nice to see people credited for their work, and it’s the more honest thing to do, but if you discredit the “folk tradition” please, throw out everything you own that’s not wholly original and design all new things that didn’t rip off something else blindly. Also, is there is a musician in our time that has not been reinterpreted, copied, stolen from, and re-appropriated more than Bob Dylan?
February 20, 2013 @ 12:14 pm
Not sure of their impact but i thought 16 Horsepower stood out in the mid 90s as one of the only bands doing roots type music. Nothing else like it at the time.
February 20, 2013 @ 3:43 pm
Had to chime in because I’m a fan. What is odd about the Mumfords ascension – it is somewhat similar to Metallica, as far as hardcore fans and casual fans go. The Mumford’s rise was much quicker & yes – I get the musical styles and respective historical genres are worlds apart!
Won’t bore you with Metallica’s story (sure most know it). But the Mumfords started out playing music they loved. There was absolutely no career path to ‘biggest type band in the world’ playing crescendo folk music (as there was none for heavy/thrash metal in the early 80’s). But as Trig did a nice job detailing – many bands came before the Mumfords trying to clear the obscure trail.
No way this was planned – but the Mumford’s are way down the line to U2 status. I’ve been following the Mumford’s for about 3 years and I really enjoy/respect the band. I totally agree with a previous comment that record companies are already looking to market this type music as the new ‘grunge’ (from 20+ years ago). You think the Lumineers make a Grammy appearance if not for the Mumfords? I’ve already heard the ‘sellout’ bitchin from hard core fans. The Mumford’s are the same band they were before Babel. But I don’t see their megastar status lasting long. When my daughter hears Jason Aldean’s voice, I’m not allowed to turn the dial. When she hears track 8 on ‘Babel’ – no such request. Their type music does not have casual mass appeal and I can’t see them selling out Wembley. You really have to enjoy folk/roots type music and I believe ‘I Will Wait’ caught mass appeal in a bottle (at the right time). I hope they crack the door a bit wider to some of the bands discussed here making a little more $$. The Mumfords have a passionate allegiance to their fans. So much so – it is refreshing. Some of the bands I follow from this blog literally struggle to keep their current tour schedule posted (I don’t ask for much). Guess all I’m saying is they are very good, very talented, and worthy of your attention. Don’t hold a grudge because many of the bands mentioned here didn’t/won’t receive the same attention. Don’t hate the playa…
February 21, 2013 @ 7:18 am
“So it”™s only his fault for getting caught? Or is it his fault for using the obscure stuff that required some effort?”
I don”™t even know what you mean by this. I’m not sure what type of backwards obfuscation this is, but here is the bottom line: Dylan has been plagiarizing other people”™s work for years. He plagiarized Timrod because he figured Timrod was obscure enough that no one would recognize the lines. As it turns out, Dylan got caught. What was Dylan”™s excuse? Dylan claimed that he was working within the “folk tradition.” Apparently, Dylan is the only person working within the “folk tradition” who thinks its ok to steal entire lines and stanzas of other people”™s work, and not give them credit. To my knowledge, this excuse has only ever been used by Bob Dylan. Being influenced by something is wholly different from stealing, word for word, from someone else”™s work. I hope you can recognize this.
Dylan was characteristically dismissive when he was caught, and basically said that Timrod and his ancestors should be grateful to Dylan for re-popularizing Timrod”™s work, and that no one gave a damn who Timrod was until Dylan used his lines. This is the height of arrogance, but to be expected from little Bobby Zimmerman, who has made a career out of this type of nonsense.
Joni Mitchell has called Dylan a “fake” and a “plagiarist.” She had the courage to pull the curtain back on the great Oz Dylan. Here is a link in case you doubt me:
“Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception.” – Joni Mitchell
February 21, 2013 @ 7:41 am
PS – I don’t know you from Adam and I have no idea how old you are, but I have recognized that it is very difficult for aging hipsters and beatniks to see their heroes for what they really are. The generation that thought they changed the world for the better, just can’t come to grips with the fact that most of their idols were false.
My dad had a really difficult time realizing that Camelot was all made up bullshit, Jackie was a whore, and JFK was a piece of shit.
February 21, 2013 @ 12:24 pm
Hmmm I read that article and while there may be truth there it just seems like Joni being Joni. Dylan plagiarizing may be true but it also true he wrote TONS of he own great work. I don’t excuse the theft, but it’s like James Brown was an abusive skinflint (fining band members for notes) but the music is still bloody awesome, just maybe not so much the personal James Brown.
Unlike BS who is an ass through in music life and in person.
February 21, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
To be plain, I don’t understand the nature of your complaint. Is it that Dylan got caught using some of our culture’s forgotten poetry, or are you upset that he didn’t pick something more blatant everyone would have lamped on to immediately.
Joni has courage for doing what every other single also-ran has been doing since the 60’s with some Dylan-bashing? Please, that’s been a cottage industry since ’63. Let’s keep in mind all the nice things Joni had to say about Taylor Swift, also, before we look to her as a paragon of taste. Bob Dylan would be the first person to tell you he was a construct, he was a person that Robert Zimmerman made up from a bundle of influences. And if you’re going to disparage the folk tradition of stealing (yes! stealing outright!) then every single other band on this list should be just as guilty as Dylan. Mumford and Sons only know that one banjo roll, and I’m sure they owe some bluegrass guys a few bucks for letting them crib it.
The problem is, when someone like Bob Dylan does something, it’s a big deal. If someone else had snuck the lines of an out of print poet into their music it would be called and intertextual reference. If it even got noticed at all. Dylanologists, poor souls, pour over his stuff and pick apart every little reference, which is how things like this got noticed. If you don’t like Dylan, that’s fine. If you want to accuse him of plagarism, that’s fine too. But dismissing him as some two-bit hack is, well, dismissive. And short sighted.
The truth is, culture is cribbing. Read some Tosches, Marcus, or Guralnick, about the old days of roots music when those guys were stealing each other blind. They’d steal entire songs, change a few words, and record their own version. Have you ever noticed how many old folk songs have a million different versions? Or how many phrases we use that have their origins in Shakespeare, Homer, or the Bible. So much of the “language” filmmakers use today was invented by D.W. Griffith. Hip Hop as we know it wouldn’t exist if guys weren’t stealing breaks, lines, and routines from each other.
More than anything, what Dylan is is a transitional figure. He embodies the old folk tradition, the DIY, Public Domain way of cribbing, adapting and reusing, while also serving as one of the first big Post-Modern pop icons, a chameleon hiding behind an ever-changing persona. He bridges the gap between those two disparities and invented something else, something at once new and old, familiar and strange. If anything, folks, hate the game, not the player.
(I’m not old enough to be a beatnik, and I’m not much of a hipster. I haven’t honestly listened to Dylan in years. I can see why you’d think those things though. Public figures are people just like everyone else, and they do questionable shit. Buck Owens, James Brown, Bill Monroe, all those guys, never paid their bands. Hemingway was an uncontrollable alcoholic. Gaga is a cut and paste version of Madonna. It’s a tiresome argument. The question to me is, did Dylan create something more lasting with Timrod’s words than Timrod did? I doubt any of us will live long enough to know.)
February 21, 2013 @ 3:32 pm
You know, let me put it this way: It’s only a crime if the wronged party feels the need to seek remuneration for the perceived wrong-doing. If Timrod or his people are not alive to press a suit, or if they don’t want to, then I don’t see a problem. If Timrod’s people feel wronged, they can sue Bob Dylan and let a judge sort it out. Bob Dylan has written tons of words, and he can write a ton more. I don’t think he’ll fret the loss.
February 21, 2013 @ 4:43 pm
As the phrase goes, “there is nothing new under the sun.” I’m aware that people borrow and are influenced by other artists. The difference between borrowing and what Dylan has done in the past, and continues to do, is that he just blatantly copies things verbatim. Look at the “paintings” he plagiarized. They are just copies of pictures. What other “artists” do you know who take another person’s picture, paint it verbatim and then call it their own? Can you show me an example of another folk artist who has taken whole lines and stanzas from an obscure poet, and passed it off as his own? To my knowledge, David Allan Coe, James McMurtry, Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson, Jason Boland, etc. don’t engage in this sort of thing as part of their creative process.
February 21, 2013 @ 5:27 pm
Can you show me another country or folk singer that reads obscure out of print poetry? I can show you plenty that have ripped off entire lines and stanzas from obscure troubadours who were unfortunately left nameless by history.
The thing with Dylan’s painting is that he is Bob Dylan. If he spent his time doing paint by numbers, people would want to see an exhibition of it. He does the same thing the older people in my family do, paint as a hobby by copying other people’s work. Unfortunately, they’re not famous and no one cares or wants to see it.
February 21, 2013 @ 11:12 pm
The big reason David Allan Coe hasn’t lifted any poetry is because there is no poetry about his favorite subject to sing about: David Allan Coe. (I kid.)
February 21, 2013 @ 12:10 pm
This is very frustrating for me because on the one hand having roots revival is great but on the other hand it is just making me more angered and frustrated with the music world and music fans. So people discover M&S and then go back and find The Avetts and Laura Maling and Fleet Fox and MAYBE even Old Crow Medicine Show but then it seems the musical curiosity stops.
Why aren’t more M&S and Avett fans going back to Flatts & Scruggs, or Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Doc Watson, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper? Even M&S only go back to Dylan. This tradition will be lost and all we’ll have left to show for it is M&S and MAYBE Old Crow? At least in the mainstream. I find that very sad. I also find it very sad that another explanation could be most people don’t want to hear “true” roots music. M&S are definitely shined up for the masses. Most people can’t handle the “off” vocals of a Bill Monore or Hazel Dickens. Even if the don’t mind the auto-tuned voices of Taylor Swift or Hunter Hayes.
February 21, 2013 @ 12:17 pm
I would like to add that coming from M&S Bob Dylan sounds like worst kind of name drop. It reeks of the only “old” folk act we know is Bob Dylan. So he is our influence. Um… Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary… And Bob Dylan used no banjo, or really anything in the way M&S do, I see no influence at all really.
February 22, 2013 @ 7:05 am
Great write up trigger
February 24, 2013 @ 5:16 pm
If i remember correctly, old Willie Nelson had a song called “lets get drunk and steal each others songs”. There is nothing new under the sun.
February 25, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
As a music fan since i was a child, i never let the popularity or obscurity of an artist hinder me from discovering good music. I have some friends who no longer listen to Death Cab For Cutie, Adele, Gotye, Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Of Monsters and Men, and Arcade Fire because they gained mainstream popularity and the “regular folks” now know their names.
In my case that never affected me. I love Mumford and Sons since their first album and when I heard Babel last year, I did actually enjoyed it regardless of what or any critics might say or regardless of their popularity.
I pretty maintain an independent mind and attitude when it comes to my personal preferences in music not letting the media tell me what to and not to like.
October 19, 2013 @ 8:36 pm
honestly there’s room enough for EVERONE on americana radio and mumford & sons deserved airplay on mainstream country stations but here (in va) the statioons were COWARDS!!! toward them hell i’ll hear them play bloody kid rock of all people and they won’t play i will wait damned hypocrites