Hear Letts' Surging, Marcus Mumford-Produced 'Emeralds'

The British folk-rock star explains why moving behind the board was "a bit of a relief"

Christian Letts, here in self-portrait, recruited Marcus Mumford to produce his debut 'Hold Fast' LP. Credit: Christian Letts

Marcus Mumford met Christian Letts when the latter's Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros opened Mumford's Railroad Revival Tour and the two quickly got along, vibing both musically and personally. Nevertheless, the chart-topping, Grammy-winning British folk singer was caught off guard when Letts asked him to produce his debut solo LP.

"It was kind of a curveball," Mumford says. "But it wasn't as different as I thought it was going to be because we're always involved in the production of our records. It just felt like being in the studio with your friends – which we do all the time."

"We got all our schedules lined up to make it happen, flew to the U.K. and spent two Januaries laying it all down," adds Letts, describing the sessions as completely idyllic. "We were surrounded by some of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. The most scenic and inspiring countryside, better than I could ever paint or imagine. A huge sense of love and trust."

Although Mumford had never produced for another artist, he too came to enjoy the experience. "It's a bit of added pressure because you're responsible for the record," he says. "But at the same time it's a bit of a relief because your name isn't on the door. You're able to make creative decisions, which is why I always think having a producer on the record is a good idea."

The finished product, the 10-song Hold Fast, will be released February 17th and can be pre-ordered here. Below, listen to "Emeralds," track seven, a steady folk-rock tune that ends with a big, flourishing crescendo.

Letts, it seems, is grateful for Mumford's contributions: "He is a fucking amazing human being, with one of the biggest hearts I have met."