Mumford & Sons along with some summer tourmates recorded a session for Daytrotter at their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Dixon, IL this past August. The session is now available for streaming here.
The songs range from songs off the band’s new album Babel, traditional songs, and covers of The Stanley Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Guy Clark, Roger Miller, Bob Dylan and others. Participating musicians included: Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall Ted Dwane of Mumford & Sons, Ross Holmes, Abigail Washburn, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Apache Relay, Gogol Bordello, HAIM, and The Very Best.
1. Not With Haste
2. Little Birdie
3. Angel Band
4. Not In Nottingham
6. I Was Young When I Left Home
7. Partner Nobody Chose
8. Atlantic City
“We wanted to do something unashamed,” says Ben Lovett. “We’re confident and happy to be where we are as a band – everything that’s happened with us has exceeded expectations, and it’s all been a surprise, it’s all much bigger than what we were prepared for. So when we came to recording this record we had a choice: to shy away from that, or to realise that people dig what we’re doing, and make something robust, with that energy.”
It was December 2010, and Mumford & Sons had been on the road since the previous summer: a glorious, eventful, yet relentless time. Standing somewhere between exhilarated and exhausted, the plan now was for the band’s four members to spend a few weeks apart, write, recuperate, and then reconvene in Nashville in the New Year, with the intention of trying out material for their second album.
The informality of the set-up in Tennessee perhaps helped to dispel any nerves they may have had about following up 2009′s Sigh No More – an album that had gone twice platinum in the US, and four times platinum in the UK. The band assembled in the front room of a house and set about sharing the songs they had been working on alone. “It was a coming together, a sharing of some stuff,” explains Lovett (keys, accordion, drums), “a pool of ideas that would come out of our time apart. So if there was nervousness, it wasn’t nervousness about the record, it was nervousness about how a couple of these new song ideas would go down. But we knew we were going to play music, and it wasn’t time to get into the nuts and bolts of it, it was more like we were starting another year from this point. And that felt very good. Very fresh, and natural.”
Out of that time in Nashville came a couple of songs for the new record – the gorgeous Lovers’ Eyes and Hopeless Wanderer. Then followed more touring, performances at the Grammys and the Brits, before the chance came in the summer to head into a studio in Bermondsey, south London. Here the band recorded the title song for the soundtrack to Wuthering Heights, as well as finding the footings for several of the new album’s songs: Babel, I Will Wait, Not With Haste, Broken Crown, Lover of the Light.
“And then,” recalls Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, guitar, drums), “we went down to a farm in Somerset and played the 10 song game, which is where you have to write 10 songs each in a set period of time without any criteria for quality.” The result of the 10 song game, the band recall with some amusement, was firstly that Ted Dwane (string bass, drums, guitar) has a natural propensity for writing murder ballads, and secondly a new album track named Reminder.
“It’s such a nice exercise because it removes your focus on perfection,” says Dwane. “You drop your guard down and you sort of bash about.” For Mumford, it also helped to re-focus to the material already amassed. “There were various points in the album where we felt maybe we needed to inject more directness, and maybe that’s what Reminder did,” he says. “There’s a bit more obscurity in this album and Reminder is a really emotionally identifiable song. I think I Will Wait Was the Same. And in terms of making the best record we could we felt like we needed those songs.”
2011 took shape slowly – throughout that year they were establishing the album’s “cornerstone songs”, discussing the new material with producer Markus Dravs – who had also steered Sigh No More (“He’s like a mind master,” says Lovett) and engineer Robin Baynton (“He has the best ears,” says Mumford “but he’ll never sacrifice vibe for accuracy”) finding more writing and studio time wherever their schedule would allow. But more importantly they were trying to work out just what kind of record they were making. “I don’t think any of us had any idea then about what we were trying to do,” says Lovett, frankly. “We had a body of songs and we just really wanted to record them. And we thought that was all you needed. But we learned that wasn’t quite the case.”
Shortly before Christmas, they decided to stand back and take stock of what they had, heading down to Lovett’s parents’ home in Devon for a review of the new material. “And that’s really where we had the vision for the album,” says Mumford, “or where it solidified.” “We were suddenly really confident and happy with what we were making,” adds Dwane. “We were all on-site, all pistols firing. I think the album started to assert its own identity a little bit, it started to make sense, and we knew then what we were making.”
Babel’s identity Dwane describes as simply “Very us. When we made the first album it was to be a snapshot of Mumford & Sons in 2009. This is exactly the same – but it’s us now, and there’s a lot of the live energy in there – that was very much what we were trying to capture. Creating the album over the course of a year, going into the studio then back out touring, then back into the studio … it’s almost as if the road has rubbed off on the album.”
The influence of the phenomenal live band Mumford and Sons have become is much in evidence on Babel, from the fire and fury of the title track to the keen and tender yearning of the album’s closer, Not With Haste. “I think over the past few years we’ve realised how much we have to play the songs that we’ve recorded,” says Mumford. “So we thought harder about these songs, feeling confident that we could play them again and again and again, and that however you record a song gives it its own life.”
As a result, several songs on Babel were recorded live. “When you’re in a room with headphones and microphones and no one else, you play it quite differently to how you play it live,” says Mumford. “Having played live as much as we have these past five years, it’s probably made us a bit more high-octane, a bit more adrenaline-filled, but because of that we probably also need to counter it more. But we really wanted to allow permission for quiet songs on the album, so that we could allow permission for them live as well.”
More than anything, there is a real a sense of completeness to Babel, a satisfying wholeness and a kind of musical and lyrical wealth – romanticism tempered by strength and vigour; a brawniness balanced by beauty. “I think there’s more subject-matter on this album, and I think we’ve grown up a little bit,” says Mumford. “I feel like it’s more exposed, more naked. Ted always talked about wanting to make an album like a story,” he adds. “Not necessarily one that has a plot, but one that you can listen from top to bottom and it makes sense. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do, and what we’ve done.”
Winston concludes, “And now we’ve finished it we can get touring again, which is what we set out to do when we started the band. Back to business.”
2. Whispers In The Dark
3. I Will Wait
4. Holland Road
5. Ghosts That We Knew
6. Lover Of The Light
7. Lovers’ Eyes
9. Hopeless Wanderer
10. Broken Crown
11. Below My Feet
12. Not With Haste
By Michel Dussack
To say Mumford & Sons have come a long way in the past two years would be a gross understatement. It’s hard to even fathom that the band that played Bowery Ballroom in 2010 opened their 2012 Summer Tour playing to 15,000 people on Hoboken’s Pier A, a venue which has never seen a concert that large ever.
Opening the show was Aaron Embry, the former touring pianist from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. He took the stage armed with a guitar and harmonica and played a soft and quiet thirty minute set that didn’t quite grab the audience as it should have. His music was heartfelt and delicate, particularly his last song, which comprised simply of him playing the piano without even singing.
Next was Dawes who ramped up the energy significantly. Vocalist Taylor Goldsmith ran about the stage with his guitar and frequently posed for photographers when he wasn’t singing. The band has a distinct folk sound to them, but also seems to take a cue from jam bands as well, leading to an interesting blend of the two genres. A few guitar solos that seemed improvised made their way into the set, and they definitely succeeded in winning over the crowd.
As the cloudy sky cleared and the sun went down, it was immediately obvious why Mumford & Sons chose to play in Hoboken. The stage was framed by the gorgeous Manhattan skyline, and was easily accessible via public transportation. The band took the stage to screams and shouts and immediately began playing a song from their upcoming sophomore album “Babel”, ‘Lover’s Eyes’. While at first I was concerned as to how the folk band would translate into such a large space, it only took a few minutes for all my fears to be relieved. Their 16 song set spanned about an hour and forty minutes, and consisted of a fairly even mixture of songs from their debut and new songs.
‘Little Lion Man’, one of the bands biggest hits, came second in the set and hearing 15,000 people scream the chorus along with Marcus Mumford is something that the band probably never could’ve imagined. Throughout the night, the band had numerous moments of funny banter, something that has been a trademark of their shows since the beginning. A couple songs later, much to everyone’s delight, the band unveiled a never before played song entitled ‘I Will Wait’. In general, the new songs seem a lot fuller than their first album, and the band has definitely succeeded in their goal of making the quiet moments quieter and the loud moments louder.
Perhaps the most unique thing about a Mumford & Sons concert is the way the members regularly switch instruments throughout the night. While Marcus typically plays acoustic guitar, a kick drums and sings, he also had some time behind a full drum kit (while still singing) and an electric guitar. Ben Lovett switches between keyboards and drums, Country Winston Marshall plays banjo and guitar, and Ted Dwane plays both upright and electric bass. That’s all not counting the four part harmonies that the group so effortlessly pulls off.
The band concluded their main set with ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ which starts off slow and somber but quickly explodes with a sense of anger thanks to Marcus’ part on the drums. Before they came back out for their encore, their brass section returned to the stage for a brief rendition of ‘New York’, a perfect acknowledgement of their location. Also in the encore was a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’ which seemed lost on the younger segment of the crowd, and an energetic rendition of their biggest hit ‘The Cave’ to close out their set. It should be noted that the band had tried to add a song between these two; however they were quickly shut down as there was a strict 10pm curfew. As the final notes of ‘The Cave’ rang out of the speakers a three minute barrage of fireworks erupted from the Hudson River and capped off a wonderful night with one of the fastest rising bands around.
Mumford and Sons setlist
1. Lovers Eyes
2. Little Lion Man
3. Roll Away Your Stone
4. I Will Wait
5. White Blank Page
6. I Gave You All
8. Lover of the Light
9. Thistle & Weeds
10. Ghosts That We Knew
11. Awake My Soul
13. Dust Bowl Dance
14. New York (horn section)
15. Winter Winds
16. The Boxer (cover)
17. The Cave
MUMFORD AND SONS
Mumford & Sons are pleased to announce the details of their forthcoming second album.
‘Babel’ will be released through Gentlemen of the Road/Island Records on September 25th. It is produced by Markus Dravs.
“We are more than excited to release ‘Babel’ into the world. We had started writing new songs well before we got into the studio to record. At first, we peeled ourselves off the road quite reluctantly. We love playing live, obviously, but it had also become an important part of our creative process, we had been writing and rehearsing in soundchecks, and sort of ‘road-testing’ new songs on our very gracious audiences. But then we fell in love with recording again. The album started to come together, and with the help of Markus Dravs once more (and engineer Robin Baynton), we started to relish the challenge of making this album. As a band, we’ve never been closer or more collaborative, all working to our strengths. And so we feel that this record is a natural progression that we’re proud of, and we cannot wait to take it out on the road.” – Mumford & Sons
The band recently unveiled a video teaser to the album through Mumfordandsons.com with speculation mounting online as to the record’s title. Watch the video below:
The album will be available to pre-order through the band’s website on July 23rd.
2. Whispers In The Dark
3. I Will Wait
4. Holland Road
5. Ghosts That We Knew
6. Lover Of The Light
7. Lovers’ Eyes
9. Hopeless Wanderer
10. Broken Crown
11. Below My Feet
12. Not With Haste
Mumford & Sons will continue their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Shows this Summer in America, and have announced a tour of Australia and New Zealand for later in the year.
Mumford & Sons Live:
1st – Hoboken, New Jersey SOLD OUT
4th – Portland, Maine (Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons + St. Vincent, Dawes, The Maccabees, Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Haim) SOLD OUT
6th – Providence Performing Arts Centre, Providence, Rhode Island SOLD OUT
7th – Marvin Sands Performing Arts, Canandaigua, New York
9th – nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, Virginia
11th – Bristol, Tennessee (Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons + Dawes, JEFF The Brotherhood, The Very Best, Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Justin Townes Earl, Haim) SOLD OUT
13th – Louisville Waterfront Park, Louisville, Kentucky
14th – The LC Pavilion, Columbus, Ohio SOLD OUT
18th – Dixon, Illinois (Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons + Gogol Bordello, Dawes, Abigail Washburn, The Very Best, Apache Relay, Haim) SOLD OUT
20th – Pinewood Bowl Theatre, Lincoln, Nebraska SOLD OUT
21st – Gryphon Theatre, Laramie, Wyoming SOLD OUT
22nd – The Saltair, Magna, Utah
25th – Monterey, California (Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons + Gogol Bordello, The Very Best, Apache Relay, Haim) SOLD OUT
28th – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado SOLD OUT
29th – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado SOLD OUT
1st – Aspen Jazz Festival, Aspen, Colorado
13th – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth
15th – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
17th – Riverstage, Brisbane
18th – Entertainment Centre, Sydney
23rd – Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart
25th – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
26th – Royal Theatre, Canberra
28th – Kuranda Amphitheatre, Cairns
29th – Convention Centre, Townsville
31st – Convention Centre, Gold Coast
2nd – Vector Arena, Auckland
4th – Town Hall, Wellington
6th – CBS Arena, Christchurch
Mumford & Sons are pleased to announce the details of a summer tour across the US, beginning on August 1st in Hoboken, NJ. The band will likely be performing new material from their forthcoming album, due out in the Fall. The tour will go on pre-sale this Thursday, June 28, and general on-sale to the public will begin on Friday, June 29. For a full itinerary, see dates below.
August will also see the band performing at their “Gentlemen of the Road” Stopovers, which quickly sold out after being announced. These one-day, outdoor events will take place in four carefully-selected and unique locations across America, including the Eastern Promenade in Portland, ME; downtown Bristol, VA/TN; Page Park in Dixon, IL; and the legendary Fairgrounds in Monterey, CA.
Mumford & Sons Upcoming US Tour
August 1 – Hoboken, NJ @ Pier A (No Fee Ticket)
August 4 – Portland, ME @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 6 – Providence, RI @ Providence Performing Arts Center
August 7 – Canandaigua, NY @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts
August 9 – Portsmouth, VA @ nTelos Wireless Pavilion
August 11 – Bristol, VA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 13 – Louisville, KY @ Louisville Waterfront Park
August 14 – Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion
August 18 – Dixon, IL @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 20 – Lincoln, NE @ Pinewood Bowl Theatre
August 21 – Laramie, WY @ Gryphon Theatre
August 22 – Magna, UT @ The Saltair
August 25 – Monterey, CA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 28 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 1 – Snowmass Village, CO @ Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival
The Stopovers combine the intimacy of a community celebration with the excitement of a world-class music festival. Featuring local vendors and activities, each Stopover will begin with a concert at a unique site and end with a series of smaller events involving local businesses, venues, and, most importantly, local people. Mumford & Sons will headline the main event, alongside an eclectic and energetic roster of artists curated by the band themselves.
These one-day, outdoor events will take place in four carefully-selected and unique locations across America, including the Eastern Promenade in Portland, ME; downtown Bristol, VA/TN; Page Park in Dixon, IL; and the legendary Fairgrounds in Monterey, CA.
Tickets to the Stopovers will be $69, with no additional service fees or hidden charges. Each ticket will include a beautifully designed commemorative Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Passport, and an exclusive digital download compilation album featuring performances taken from various acts across the four shows. Tickets for the Portland, Bristol, and Monterey Stopovers will go on sale Friday, June 1 at 10am local time. The Dixon Stopover will go on sale Saturday, June 9th at 10am CT. Tickets for all Stopovers will be available exclusively at gentlemenoftheroad.com. A very limited quantity of $59 early-bird tickets will be available for each site on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mumford & Sons said: “The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is based loosely upon our favorite festivals like Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass and Scotland’s Loopallu Festivals. We want to stop off in towns where bands don’t usually tour, and celebrate the local people, food and music.
We’re keen to promote the town’s local businesses, and we’ll be using the local bars and venues for after-show parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular. There will be a host of our friends playing too, and the vibe falls somewhere between ‘travelling Victorian circus’ and ‘Victorian travelling circus’. It should be a whole lot of fun.”
Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers
August 4 – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover In Portland, ME (The Eastern Promenade) – Mumford & Sons + St. Vincent, Dawes, The Maccabees, Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Haim
August 11 – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover In Bristol, VA/TN (Off State Street in Downtown Bristol) – Mumford & Sons + Dawes, JEFF The Brotherhood, The Very Best, Justin Townes Earle, Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Haim
August 18 – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover In Dixon, IL (Page Park) – Mumford & Sons + Gogol Bordello, Dawes, Abigail Washburn, The Very Best, Apache Relay, Haim
August 25 – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover In Monterey, CA (Monterey County Fairgrounds) – Mumford & Sons + Gogol Bordello, The Very Best, Grouplove, Two Gallants, Apache Relay, Haim