Countless Mumford & Sons fans remember the rising of the folk maestros from Shepherd’s Bush and more nameless enclaves of music surrounding the foursome’s roots near London and even the University of Edinburg. The loyalists of any band love to say that the music is never as good as in the early days. For Mumford & Sons, the early days included some heady company. Sharing a Grammy stage with Bob Dylan would become a stepping stone to a Grammy win on their own for their seminal album, Babel, only two years later.

An even deeper creative connection with Dylan in 2014, when Marcus Mumford joined the contingent of great British and Americana artists to make whole entities of unfinished Dylan lyrics in The New Basement Tapes.

Mumford & Sons songs speak to the hearts and souls of their fervent fans, but the quartet has certainly felt the smart of their public’s disapproval. The band’s 2015 album, “Wilder Mind” was an exercise in growth and “creating space” sonically, with each member of the band taking part in the creative process more fully.

When fans heard synthesizers and other electronica, however, some railed against the band for forsaking the banjo and turning from waistcoats to black leather jackets. Comparisons to Coldplay were rampant, while more accepting listeners found the same themes and strength in the compositions and appreciated the need for stretching boundaries. Selections from the album still are preferred Mumford & Sons' snippets for network news playlists.

With the 2018 release of “Delta,” Mumford & Sons enticed fans old and new with deeply personal songs of depth and meaning, and banjo featured in every song, as Marcus Mumford noted, even if Winston Marshall accompanied in unexpected ways. “When it feels like nothing else matters, will you put your arms around me?” asks the title song. During their profile on “CBS Sunday Morning” on January 19, the band discussed their decision to put their musical arms around many more people, moving from smaller venues to arena shows, and how their connection still feels like family.

New sounds, same memories for Mumford & Sons

In a time when musical success is only defined by the latest YouTube views and streaming numbers, it seems hard to fathom that it's been more than a decade since “Sign No More” seized music in a way not seen in the years before-- and with the acoustic guitar and banjo holding the lasso. Beyond musicianship, Mumford & Sons discovered synchronized harmonies that can only be explained by something divine. The band first practiced under a bridge for the acoustics and visited the studio where tracks were first laid down together for Marcus Mumford’s compositions.

“Wait for it, here it comes,” Mumford rightly predicted of the train rustling above. He recalls the first harmonies he and his new mates made together, simply noting that they were “better than I expected” with a concurring grin from bassist, Ted Dwane. A review from one Texas critic in 2013 offered another assessment, saying that Mumford & Son's harmonies “lock together like tumblers in a vault”

Crowds still clamor for those same crystalline harmonies from the foursome and the band fuses songs from all its albums into a flowing, seamless setlist. At the start, however, musical acumen wasn’t enough for the Grammy-winning group.

Mumford & Sons—from fired to filling seats

“Ted and I both got fired from the same band on the same day,” Marcus relates. When Anthony Mason asks why both musicians met such a fate, Mumford responds that “we were taking too much attention from the lead singer” who was stripping down his clothes and climbing the stage rigging. “How did you compete with that?” Mason follows up. “Playing quite well,” the Mumford & Sons namesake member declares.

Marcus Mumford explains that the band's name originated out of the feeling that the foursome would be “like a family business,” with a British moniker. More than once over the years, the musician has disparaged his own name as part of the band, calling it “rubbish” and “a ball ache.”

Banjo master, Winston Marshall, playfully puts forth his own name, prompting Mumford’s suggestion that “maybe we'll just rotate names.

“ It's very hard to change music history, especially when a name is etched into so many trophies of acclaim, like those for “Babel.”

Mumford & Sons still enthrall fans with the kindred joy that the four gents clearly derive from making music together, and their attention to their craft is as pure as ever. One question has changed in recent years; that of how many tickets are sold, aiming for a sellout. “We want to play to sellout crowds every night, ‘cause we just love playing live.”

“When you hear 18,000 people, it's amazing. It's a miracle. It's the power of congregation, really,” speaks the minister’s son.

For the four men lined up on stage, however, nothing seems different, according to the keyboardist, Ben Lovett. “When we look at each other, it’s the same” as 13 years earlier.

Life, death, and love consume Mumford & Sons

The musicians who comprise Mumford & Sons are thriving in their prime, but already, one member of the band has experienced a critical brush with death. In 2013, Ted Dwane was stricken with pain that was so severe, the man who wields his upright bass like a toy “felt like I was being hit with a baseball bat. “My vision was gone,” he further details.

Somehow, Dwane managed to perform most shows on the Texas tour swing—until he couldn't.

When the distress was diagnosed as a blood vessel that had burst in his brain, the bassist actually felt relief. He had a one-word answer when he was told he was going to have brain surgery: “Sweet.” He immediately felt the release from agony, and his recovery seemed flawless. Just weeks later, he was at Glastonbury, reunited with Mumford & Sons.

Ben Lovett remembered the palpable emotional response of 100,000 people when Marcus proclaimed: “Ted’s alive!” Tears of joy were certainly visible, too, though hard to see under Ted’s wide-brimmed hat.

The roar of an excited arena crowd moves Mumford & Sons and stirs the emotions and the bond between them.

By the way, they never forsake the banjo. The premiere Christmas offering last month from the band's website was “The Gentlemen of the Road Goodtime Banjo.” The instrument is “perfect for beginners” so who could resist.

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