FROM THE HEART: “I think it’s not complicated music,” says bassist Ted Dwane (left). “It’s like we wanted everyone to write about things we understand.”
At this point, after their stunning leap to success, Mumford & Sons' greatest accomplishment has been a wholesome ability to stay grounded. It's not often you find artists who get so big in such a short time without letting it go to their heads. But the boys, it seems, are grateful and definitely surprised. "It's unbelievable, it's really, really crazy," says bassist Ted Dwane. "It's the first time we've felt this. I don't really understand it at all, and I think we're just really lucky."
Just six months ago, the West London indie-folk band headlined their first stateside tour, which included a stop in Cambridge at the Middle East in support of buzz single "Little Lion Man." Phoenix sister station WFNX was a staunch champion of that song, which created a grassroots momentum. Dwane admits the airplay had an impact. "When we made the album, we had songs that were really radio-friendly, so it's kind of radio we have to thank for this. It's amazing that I can even say this, it's just been a bizarre six-month-long ride to all these amazing venues. We're really excited to get back to America" — on a tour that'll bring them to the House of Blues next Thursday.
You might have expected Mumford & Sons to be just another Avett Brothers knockoff, what with their exuberant energy, their banjo-slashing solos, and their heart-on-sleeve lyrics. But they've drained folk music's blood and guts out of their souls and into their songs.
"The songs are written very naturally, very organic, so it is honest," Dwane points out. "I don't understand why people would write music in any other way. I think it's not complicated music. It's like we wanted everyone to write about things we understand. So, Sigh No More [on Glass Note], it's about love, and it's about loss. It's really all about what it is to become a man — we're at that age where we're not boys anymore. I think that this album has been quite cathartic, and it's allowing us to sort of let go of all these things. It's stuff everybody goes through, whether you're a guy or a girl. If music isn't honest, then it's nothing, in my opinion."
Mumford & Sons have achieved this success less than a year after their debut album's release. Sigh No More is more like a major opus than a young band's first attempt at carving an identity. From their instrumental prowess to Marcus Mumford's baritone vocals, each song rattles with experience and know-how. So what's in store for the second album?
"We've already got this huge bank of half-written songs that we want to finish," says Dwane. "I think when we all get into the studio together just to write, it's going to be quite spectacular, because I think we all have a lot of stuff we need to get off our chests. But I don't think it's going to sound quite the same as Sigh No More, I must forewarn you."
MUMFORD & SONS + KING CADILLAC + KING CHARLES | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | November 11 at 7 pm | all ages | $20 | 888.693.2583 or hob.com/boston