Who Are They
Mumford & Sons formed in 2007 as part of a growing community of folk bands in West London. They played locally until securing a record deal and releasing their debut album, Sigh No More. They found immediate success all around the world as they combined elements of classic folk music with modern songcraft and spiritual lyrics, referencing classic literature. Their live concerts grew especially popular as their foot-stomping shows projected electricity usually associated with rock shows, not banjoes and upright basses. Their second album, Babel, established them as a dominant force in the landscape of pop music, selling incredibly well and winning them the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2013.
What Are Their Messages
Almost every Mumford & Sons album contains some sort of spiritual reference in its lyrics. Some are vague while some are forthright, but all are worthy of several listens and open to individual interpretation. They also often quote lines from classic literature, including the works of Shakespeare, Steinbeck and Chesterton. Songs like “Sigh No More”, “Timshel” and “After The Storm” offer encouraging messages of hope, brotherhood and redemption. The continuity of spiritual and hopeful content, even in their songs about romantic love or loss, indicate a band whose lives have been impacted by the person of Jesus Christ. And indeed, lead singer Marcus Mumford is a preacher’s kid. Though the band seems weary of the label of a Christian band, their music is evidence of experiences with God and His grace. Their first single, “Little Lion Man” does contain an obscenity but even that seems more like a cultural signifier as opposed to an excuse to be salacious.
What Does a Youthworker Need2Know
Mumford & Sons have unwillingly become the leaders of a revival of folk and roots elements in popular music. This revival has sent songs by bands like The Lumineers, The Civil Wars and Nickel Creek to the top of mainstream charts. It is nice to see bands who are both proficient musicians and also write songs mostly free of obscene content. If your students are fans, engage with them, especially regarding the spiritual content found in Mumford & Sons’ music. Though some may be a little heady for younger kids, your high schoolers will likely derive a wealth of content from them. If you have students looking for acoustic-based music with positive, thoughtful content, this is a good band to recommend.
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