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Mumford And Sons Babel [Gentlemen Of The Road Edition] (2012)

 Mumford And Sons — Babel [Gentlemen Of The Road Edition] (2012)

Mumford And Sons — Babel [Gentlemen Of The Road Edition]
¶   Babel is the second studio album by the British indie folk band Mumford & Sons, and was released on September 21, 2012 in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway. It was released on September 24, 2012 in the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Eastern Europe, South America, and on September 25, 2012 in the US and Canada (the release date in Japan is TBA). Babel debuted at number one on the UK Album Chart and the US Billboard 200. It became the fastest selling album of 2012 in the UK, selling over 159,000 copies in its first week, and was the biggest selling debut of any album in 2012 in the US at the time, selling 600,000 in its first week. As with Sigh No More, Babel was produced by producer Markus Dravs. The album is currently nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Commercial performance:
¶   The album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart selling 75,000 copies.
Location: London, England
Album release: September 21/10th December, 2012
Record Label: Island, Glassnote (US)
Duration:     xxx
CD 1 (Babel Deluxe Edition)
01. Babel     3:29
02. Whispers In The Dark     3:16
03. I Will Wait     4:37
04. Holland Road     4:13
05. Ghosts That We Knew     5:40
06. Lover Of The Light     5:15
07. Lovers’ Eyes     5:21
08. Reminder     2:05
09. Hopeless Wanderer     5:08
10. Broken Crown     4:16
11. Below My Feet     4:52
12. Not With Haste     4:09
13. For Those Below     3:36
14. The Boxer (Feat. Jerry Douglas & Paul Simon)     4:05
15. Where Are You Now     3:40
CD 2 (Live From Redrocks, Colorado)
01. Lovers Eyes     5:43
02. Little Lion Man     4:28
03. Below My Feet     4:44
04. Roll Away Your Stone
05. Lover Of The Light
06. Ghosts That We Knew
07. Awake My Soul     4:23
08. Whispers In The Dark
09. Dustbowl Dance     4:57
10. I Will Wait     4:46
11. The Cave     4:11
¶   All songs written and composed by Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford and Country Marshall, except for "The Boxer" by Paul Simon.
Mumford and Sons
Marcus Mumford – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, tambourine, percussion, ukulele, mandolin
Ted Dwane – vocals, electric and string bass, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, tambourine, percussion
Ben Lovett – vocals, piano, keyboards, organ, accordion, drums, tambourine, percussion, harmonium
Winston Marshall – vocals, banjo, mandolin, dobro, electric bass, electric guitar
Additional musicians:
Chris Alan – cello
Nell Catchpole – violin, viola
Nick Etwell – trumpet, flugelhorn
Ross Holmes – fiddle
Dave Williamson – trombone
Richard Martin - Percussion
¶   96 page deluxe TOUR book
¶   DELUXE VERSION OF BABEL with three bonus tracks
BABEL GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD EDITION (3rd December, 2012) - Includes:
¶   DELUXE VERSION OF BABEL with three bonus tracks
¶   Photo Booklet
Region / Certification / Sales/shipments:
¶   Australia (ARIA)    Platinum    70,000^
¶   Canada (Music Canada)    2× Platinum    160,000^
¶   New Zealand (RIANZ)    Gold    7,500^
¶   United States (RIAA)    Platinum    1,000,000^
Website: http://www.mumfordandsons.com/
¶   Mumford & Sons are an English rock band. The band consists of Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums), "Country" Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, dobro, guitar), and Ted Dwane (vocals, string bass, drums, guitar). Mumford & Sons formed in December 2007, emerging out of what some in the media labeled the "West London folk scene" with other artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Noah and the Whale.
Musical style and influences:
¶   Mumford & Sons use bluegrass and folk instrumentation, such as a banjo, upright bass, mandolin and piano, played with a rhythmic style based in alternative rock and folk.
¶   Much of Mumford & Sons' lyrical content has a strong literary influence, its debut album name deriving from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The track "Sigh No More" includes lines from the play such as Serve God love me and mend and One foot in sea and one on shore. The song "Roll Away Your Stone" is influenced by Macbeth; the song includes the line Stars hide your fires / And these here are my desires which echoes Macbeth's line in Act 1 Scene 4: Stars, hide your fires, / Let not light see my black and deep desires.  In an interview, Mumford was quoted as saying, "You can rip off Shakespeare all you like; no lawyer's going to call you up on that one." Additionally, "The Cave" includes several references to The Odyssey, also referencing Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", from The Republic. More specifically, the song references G.K. Chesterton's book St. Francis of Assisi, in which Chesterton uses Plato's Cave as a way of explaining how St. Francis views the world from God's perspective.
¶   Both "Timshel" and "Dust Bowl Dance" draw heavily from the John Steinbeck novels Of Mice and Men, East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. Mumford, in an interview, even compared touring to a Steinbeck adventure: "[Steinbeck] talked about how a journey is a thing of its own, and you can't plan it or predict it too much because that suffocates the life out it. That's kind of what touring is like. Even though there's a structure—you know what towns you're going to, and that you'll be playing a gig—pretty much anything can happen." Mumford also in his spare time runs an online book club on the band's official web site.
¶   Mumford recognizes the Old Crow Medicine Show influence: "I first heard Old Crow’s music when I was, like, 16, 17, and that really got me into, like, folk music, bluegrass. I mean, I’d listened to a lot of Dylan, but I hadn’t really ventured into the country world so much. So Old Crow were the band that made me fall in love with country music." Mumford acknowledges in "Big Easy Express", Emmett Malloy's "moving documentary" about the vintage train tour they'd invited Old Crow to join them on, that "the band inspired them to pick up the banjo and start their now famous country nights in London." Ketch Secor, Old Crow front-man, concurs: "Those boys took the message and ran with it."
¶   Emmylou Harris was . .
¶   ". . among the gateway artists who helped Mumford and bandmates Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall discover their love for American roots music. It started with the 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' soundtrack . . That eventually led them to the Old Crow Medicine Show and then deep immersion in old-timey sounds from America's long-neglected past."
¶   "Here’s the elevator pitch on Mumford & Sons: U2 meets Old Crow Medicine Show at Bruce Springsteen’s house. They have Old Crow’s rootsy instrumentation and vintage wardrobe, and they share the Boss’ heart-on-the-sleeve sincerity and world-conquering ambition. From U2 the band takes a melodramatic sense of musical dynamics, and singer-lyricist Marcus Mumford models Bono’s strategy for rendering spiritual longing in terms that are accessible to a post-Christian world." — Danny Duncan Collum, U.S. Catholic
Peak positions:
Chart (2012) Peak position:
Australian Albums Chart    #2
Austrian Albums Chart    #2
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)    #2
Canadian Albums Chart    #1
Danish Albums Chart    #4
Dutch Albums Chart    #1
Finnish Albums Chart    #19
German Albums Chart    #2
Irish Albums Chart    #1
New Zealand Albums Chart    #1
Norwegian Albums Chart    #10
Spanish Albums Chart    #12
Swedish Albums Chart    #4
Swiss Albums Chart    #2
UK Albums Chart    #1
US Billboard 200    #1
Born: 31 January 1987, Anaheim, California, United States
Origin: Wimbledon, London, England, United Kingdom
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin, accordion, ukulele, melodica, tamborine
Personal life:
¶   Marcus' parents, John and Eleanor (née Weir-Breen), are national leaders of the Vineyard Church in the UK and Ireland.
¶   Marcus previously dated Laura Marling, but they broke up in 2010 and are reportedly still friends.
¶   On April 21, 2012, Marcus married British actress Carey Mulligan in Somerset, England. The two had known each other since being childhood pen pals, then became closer after gaining success in their fields. In 2011, a romance began. Marcus proposed after 5 months of dating.
¶   THE romance between MARCUS MUMFORD and CAREY MULLIGAN is like a storyline from a cheesy Hollywood rom-com.
¶   The MUMFORD & SONS frontman and the Hollywood actress started dating in February but the Brit pair first knew each other as childhood pen pals.
¶   It was only after Carey established herself in movies and Marcus’s band made it big that they then got in touch again.
¶   A source said: “Carey and Marcus began sending each other letters through their churches when they were kids.
¶   “After becoming friends again things got more serious earlier this year and romance blossomed.
¶   “The couple have spent a lot of time together since while Mumford & Sons have been touring the States.”
¶   Marcus and Carey have been eying up properties in the US but, because of the nature of their jobs, they will have to get used to communicating again from afar.
¶   At least these days they’ll be able to email.
¶   Or, for those lonely nights in, Skype.
¶   Edited by Gordon Smart / THE SUN (http://www.thesun.co.uk)
By Marissa R. Moss September 20th, 2012 at 10:28 am
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
¶   There are some guitar sounds so indelibly stuck into our collective pop-consciousness that even those who can’t tell a minor from a major chord can identify the band or player from just a few riffs –a dreamy John Lennon lick, the cosmic climb of Joe Perry, Slash’s slash, Nirvana’s fuzzy-barre rips, the post-punk fury of Sonic Youth.  Now, the chugging, kinetic strum of Mumford & Sons is slowly creeping onto this revered list – not born out of extreme skill or virtuosity but by sheer branding, note for note. And it’s how the band’s second album, Babel, opens on the title track: with that same very strum, born somewhere between English mountain folk and an old time Appalachia. You can nearly hear the sweat flying off Marcus Mumford, his Martin instrument hiked high on his chest, every time he and banjo player Winston Marshall attack their strings.
¶   So it’s no coincidence, it seems, that the band’s highly anticipated sophomore record begins exactly where we might expect, and the rest of LP that follows proves that this isn’t an attempt to smash any expectations with a sudden progression of their style. For those devotees looking for the Mumfords to evolve drastically, well, you’re out of luck. But who would that audience be, anyway? The band is no doubt polarizing: old time and bluegrass faithfuls wouldn’t be caught dead with a copy of Sigh No More, and their most ardent followers are more likely to have an iPod stocked with Coldplay and John Mayer than Bill Monroe or Doc Watson. Even pop addicts can’t deny the catchy craft of “Little Lion Man” or “The Cave.” No one is looking for their Kid A. Thus Babel’s not a new sentence in the book of Mumford & Sons – it’s what happens after an ellipses. And in many ways, that suits them just fine. It will most definitely suit their fans.
¶   Marcus Mumford has always been a bit of a melancholy fellow, and even a marriage to pixie-haired starlet Carey Mulligan, sold-out shows and Grammy nominations haven’t shaken the teary introspection from this set of songs. Obviously, Babel deals in a lot of religious imagery and lyrics – with all the success and opportunities to indulge, it seems the boys have taken a moment to ask a few questions of their maker.  “This cup of yours tastes holy/but a brush with the devil can clear your mind,” Mumford sings on the second track “Whispers in the Dark.” It’s an anthem call with a firm statement: “I’m a cad but I’m not a I’m not a fraud / I set out to serve the lord.” Maybe the trials and tribulations of being simultaneously loved and harangued have worn on the Mumford’s, but at least they can prove to themselves, their audience or even their lord that this stuff comes from the heart.
¶   The album’s single, “I Will Wait,” is an easy crowd-pleaser moment with an arena-ready hushed chorus, set to those furious strings. The lyric and melody could easily be a Fray song if you removed the plucking banjo –and that’s the amazing thing about Mumford & Sons. Purists aside, there’s no one else that can get an audience from ages eight to eighty screaming along to a bunch of acoustic instruments or urge a kid to choose guitar lessons over computer games. Every time they perform – live or on Babel – they do it with sheer fervor, as if it’s both their first and last time.
¶   While the band is mostly known for their “Americana” sound, they also pull references from their side of the pond: from both classic British countryside folk and Celtic punk bands like The Pogues. Those influences run a little more clear on Babel – “Ghosts That We Knew” and “Reminder” are both soft, melancholy stunners born out of grassy hills and cockney-tinged tales told in wood-paneled bars. And “Broken Crown” is the boys at their angriest yet: “I’ll never be your chosen one,” Mumford sings lightly before launching into an all-out war over minstrel plucks. It’s a force of a song, and not your firmest pick nor hard-earned callous could weather that storm.
¶   Babel has some other unexpected moments, too, like on “Hopeless Wanderer,” which begins with keys instead of strum, and “Lover of the Light” is a sunnier moment, perhaps a nod to the singer’s recent vows (“to have and to hold,” Mumford howls on the track). And the album’s closer, “Not Without Haste,” is a beautiful lullaby meant more for singing a restless man to sleep than a still-innocent child.
¶   There’s also a continuation of the Mumford’s love of literary references, with the boys even copping recently to ripping a line from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall – this is the band, after all, that was able to loop Macbeth’s fateful cry of “stars, hide your fires” into their rollicking song “Roll Away Your Stone.” So while the album title, Babel, is most likely a biblical reference, it’s hard not to think of Jorge Louis Borges’ short story, The Library of Babel. In it Borges imagines a universe composed of an endless library that contains every book in every possible permutation, and, therefore, nothing at all. ¶   This excess causes great despair for people of the library as they try to search for meaning in all of it. They fret. They come up empty.
¶   Babel may not hold all the answers, and it may not be some exotic transformation of their original formula — it’s a safe bet to say that nothing from the Mumford & Sons may ever be. In The Library of Babel, the final realization that everything repeats itself is the universe’s saving grace. And in Babel, you could say the same. Though there may not be endless possibilities, there’s comfort – elegance, even – in that familiar, now nearly iconic rip of those strings, strummed in the way only those boys from West London can strum. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly Mumford & Sons.
¶   Fortaken: http://www.americansongwriter.com

Mumford And Sons Babel [Gentlemen Of The Road Edition] (2012)