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Best of What's Next: Mumford & Sons

Music Features Mumford & Sons
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Best of What's Next: Mumford & Sons

Hometown: London
Album: Sigh No More
Band members: Marcus Mumford (vocals, acoustic guitar, kick drum, tambourine), Ted Dwane (double bass), Ben Lovett (keyboards), Winston Marshall (banjo)
For Fans Of: The Frames, Noah and the Whale, Langhorne Slim

“It’s very important, when everyone else seems to be pigeon-holing you, to try and pigeon-hole yourself,” says Winston Marshall, one quarter of London-based modern folk outfit Mumford & Sons. “We think about it everyday and it’s often kept us up at night. If you can’t pigeon-hole yourself, who can you pigeon-hole?”

Marshall and his bandmates have fit themselves into a fine hole indeed, eschewing the angular electric guitars that have dominated much of the UK’s recent musical output in favor of banjo, kick drum and stand-up bass. A delicate fusion of vintage Americana and English folk, the band’s debut album Sigh No More takes its name from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and has fast established the four-piece among Britain’s finest purveyors of neo-acoustica. “We play the instruments we love,” says Marshall, who’s currently in the studio with members of Keane, Noah and the Whale and The Long Winters’ John Roderick, recording as Mt. Desolation. “The song always comes first, so we use the instruments appropriate for each one.”

The band, all longtime friends, originally formed in the fall of 2007 to perform impromptu renditions of frontman Marcus Mumford’s early songs in London folk clubs, but have quickly evolved into a formidable creative unit, their ragged, triumphant debut rating highly among a number of British critics’ best of 2009 lists. Sigh No More will be released in the States on Feb. 16, and the band will hit a few major cities on a brief U.S. jaunt the same week. “Every day is a learning day,” Marshall says. “To quote Micky J, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll get what you need.”

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