The lowdown: Mumford & Sons
James Manning tells you everything you need to know about the West London yokels
Marcus Mumford is 25. The band formed in 2007.
Twiddle-diddle-diddle... That’s band member ‘Country’ Winston Marshall’s banjo, the most divisive sound in contemporary music. Add kick drum, trumpets, pianos and earnest vocal harmonies for a Mumford hoedown.
These four young farmhands met in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl in 1932. Nah – Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane used to pitch up to Marshall’s folk night on the King’s Road. They eventually clustered around Mumford.
Thanks to a killer combination of heartfelt country-boy bluster and canny public-school business sense, Mumford & Sons have rapidly fiddled their way to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, attracting a huge fanbase – and an equally massive backlash.
They’ve picked up plenty of awards, outsold Adele, jammed with Bruce Springsteen and played to Barack Obama at a White House dinner. Oh, and Mumford married Carey Mulligan this year.
The ‘I Hate Mumford & Sons’ Facebook group would argue that everything these ‘treacherous banjo bastards’ do is a low point. The banjo aside, haters get particularly vexed about the band’s faux-Steinbeck shtick and Mumford’s big, perma-smug face (above right).
By proving that where there’s folk there’s brass, the Sons have opened doors for Of Monsters And Men, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers and even The Staves – an extended Mumford family that shows no sign of laying down its fiddles any time soon.