Best Folk Import: Mumford & Sons

U.K. neo-folk act gets loud with banjos, acoustic guitars

Mumford and Sons performs on the Hard Rock Calling Sessions stage in Hard Rock VIP Backstage Area in Hyde Park on June 27th, 2009 in London, England.
Marc Broussely/Redferns/Getty
April 1, 2010

WHO Old-timey folk-rock act formed by singer Marcus Mumford and three guys who aren't his sons. It's already huge in Australia, where the band unseated Susan Boyle on the charts. An L.A. show attracted Jake Gyllenhaal and Benicio Del Toro.

SOUND For an acoustic act, Mumford and Sons shows are surprisingly rowdy, Appalachia-goes-Arcade Fire affairs. "I always thought acoustic music was chill — but I was so wrong," says organist Ben Lovett. "Blue-grass is the best dance music ever."

BACKSTORY The band got its start at Bosun's Locker, a tiny club under a London Cornish pasty shop. "It was only big enough to stand and drink one beer," says Lovett, laughing.

BOOKWORM Mumford runs an online book club (first read: All the Pretty Horses) and says he's inspired by mythology. "The Odyssey is as much folk music as "House of the Rising Sun': It's specific to a time but lasts for generations," he says. "I'll never sing, 'I went to buy a Diet Coke.' I want my songs to last forever."

KEY TRACK When Mumford played "Little Lion Man" on Letterman, that night's guest Ewan McGregor requested tickets to their show.

This story is from the April 1st, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »