Many things about Mumford and Sons never change. Despite it being over a decade since the British folk-rock quartet did something that many proclaimed as impossible, bringing their superlative, old-school musicianship to universal and Americana themes and inspiring an unparalleled passion in listeners, who drove those songs to overtake the music world, the band itself is still true to the core.

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Mumford and Sons take every stage with a fervor, a passion, and an utter joy in playing together that is unlike any other band in music. The same energy that propelled the foursome’s early days from Shepherd’s Bush Empire was in evidence just this week as Mumford and Sons set a new record at Detroit's Little Caesar's Arena, with a buoyant Marcus Mumford playfully toying over topping Jay-Z's former numbers.

Some fans may never come to forgiveness for Mumford and Sons for forsaking the exact style of “Sigh No More” and not pursuing reincarnations of their Grammy-winning “Babel,” which certainly would have been easy, but could have been fatal to the unity of the gifted individual artists.

Mumford and Sons has no plans to ever put change or creativity on cruise control. [Image source: Mumford & Sons-YouTube]
Mumford and Sons has no plans to ever put change or creativity on cruise control. [Image source: Mumford & Sons-YouTube]

The exploration of sonic space and more obtuse storytelling in 2015’s “Wilder Mind” was essential to the creative survival of Mumford and Sons, and further showcased the writing contributions of each musician.

The banjo and other acoustics are there alongside the electronica and synthesizers on “Delta” the fourth album from Mumford and Sons, and so are deep themes of a divine, erotic, and human love all woven into the canvas that only this band creates.

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As Marcus Mumford and keyboardist Ben Lovett describe in a March 30 Chicago Tribune interview, the band has come to peace all were not pleasing everyone and being grateful for all the satisfied followers, and the satisfaction of always striving for something new.

Gratitude goes a long way

“We don't think everyone should like our band,” admitted Mumford in a telephone interview. The singer-songwriter naturally expressed that “we hope everyone will go with us on this journey and believe in the songs we’re writing, but that’s not guaranteed.”

Rather than fretting over fans that may never return to the flock, Mumford and company make the choice “just to be masterfully grateful” for the audience that the band maintains and grows after a decade of creativity.

He also is well aware that faithfulness is something “to earn” from fans and new followers alike.

Even in looking back at the drastic sonic departure that shocked some fans with “Wilder Mind,” Ben Lovett maintains that moving “in such a bold fashion” brought a fresh breath to the band and is perhaps the reason they are still “active.” The musician whose passion and distinctive piano style undergirds every song praises that “we’re constantly chasing and pursuing something better and something different.” The consequence of such creative pursuit undoubtedly means sacrificing a certain number of listeners and letting go of the people-pleasing hopes inbred in human nature.

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The Beatles would have never created “Sgt. Pepper” if they had languished in “Please Please Me.”

Lovett further complimented producer Paul Epworth for granting freedoms that provoked “kid in a candy store” feelings as the band explored sounds never heard before combined with new songs.

Ben Lovett relates that the support for fresh experimentation forged a band that felt “younger” through the making of “Delta” than at any other time. Marcus Mumford feels an immense “debt of gratitude” to the fans that still flock to Mumford and Sons shows, singing every word, whether from “The Cave” or from the ethereal ballad, “Woman,” or the call and cry of "Beloved” with its reminder that life is short even as love is eternal.

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Love and live now

The entirety of “Delta” is a call to put love in action, whether by a simple moment of listening, or caressing the loved one, to mounting campaigns to meet huge human needs. Much of the writing came in the wake of the Grenfell Towers fire tragedy, which affected those living within blocks of Marcus Mumford.

Mumford and Sons will never be a band to “cruise at a certain altitude and just churn something out,” promises Mumford. He notes that changing his band’s sound “doesn't get old,” lamenting that “if it ever does, we should just quit.”

Fans from Detroit and further points across the planet certainly don't want this band to ever come to such a decision. Instead, they hope to hear Marcus Mumford offer that “It’s been a complete privilege to play for you tonight,” as he did to the record-setting crowd in Detroit, for countless decades to come.

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