Who Sounds like Mumford and Sons?
A product of the London folk scene, Mumford and Sons rose to international stardom by putting a modern twist on an old-fashioned style of music. The resulting sound was a blend of folk and rock that caught the attention of Grammy voters and delighted the ears of millions of mainstream music listeners around the world. In addition to their signature folk-rock sound, Mumford and Sons are frequently noted for their song lyrics, which often make references to classic literary works and reveal the role that storytelling plays in traditional folk music.
If You Like Mumford and Sons, You May Like…
Influenced by established folk artists like Billy Bragg, Leonard Cohen, Emmylou Harris, and Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons bring hints of alternative rock to the traditionally rootsy genre and thus are usually regarded as a folk-rock band. This label can also be applied with varying levels of precision to the following artists and bands that sound like Mumford and Sons:
- Ryan Adams
- The Lumineers
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
- Alabama Shakes
- Noah and the Whale
Folk-rock artists and other bands like Mumford and Sons create music commonly inspired by bluegrass, roots rock, and similar genres. They make frequent use of the acoustic guitar and will often play traditional blues and bluegrass instruments to produce their distinctive sound. Bands similar to Mumford and Sons may also employ a full ensemble of rock instruments in combination with their acoustic ones.
Despite their folk-inspired roots, Mumford and Sons continue to take musical risks and develop their sound. Their third studio album, released in 2015, represented a marked departure from the signature style of their previous work and has drawn comparisons to British rock bands Coldplay and Snow Patrol instead of the folk artists traditionally associated with the group.
Fronted by Marcus Mumford, who provides lead vocals, Mumford and Sons got their start in 2007, joining a handful of other emerging bands on the London folk scene. The four-man group also includes bandmates Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane. Each member sings and plays various instruments to achieve the sound for which the group is known. Despite the band’s ties to England, lead singer Mumford was actually born in California. In 2012, he married the Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan.
United by their mutual appreciation for folksy music, the founding members of Mumford and Sons officially brought their talents together in 2007 even though they had been part of other bands up to that point. The band name originated as a way to make the folk-inspired group seem like an old-fashioned family business. Throughout the rest of 2007, Mumford and Sons steadily raised their profile on the London folk scene by writing songs and playing shows on a regular basis.
In 2008, the fledgling band earned a spot in the lineup for the Glastonbury Festival and also released their first two EPs. The following year, Mumford and Sons signed with Island Records in the U.K. and dropped their first studio album, Sigh No More, in August. Peaking at the runner-up position on the British charts, Sigh No More debuted in the United States in 2010 and racked up sales of more than a million units between the two countries.
With the triumphant release of their debut album, Mumford and Sons stood poised for even more success in the music industry, and their sophomore effort Babel did not disappoint. Released in 2012, Babel reached the top of the charts in the U.S., where the album eventually went double-platinum and netted the Grammy for Album of the Year. Three years later, Mumford and Sons came out with their third album, Wilder Mind, which deviates from the folk-inspired sound of their previous records.
Widely recognized as one of the leading folk-rock or indie-folk bands in the music industry today, Mumford and Sons are perhaps best known for their rootsy sound that reminds listeners of a bygone American era when musicians would use the simplicity of acoustic instruments and the art of storytelling to compose memorable songs. In fact, traditional folk and bluegrass instruments like the accordion, banjo, and mandolin play a prominent role in a number of Mumford and Sons songs, particularly on the group’s earlier albums.
More recently, Mumford and Sons have traded their acoustic instruments for electric ones in their quest for musical progress. This transition has also witnessed the band’s use of modern studio equipment, such as synthesizers and drum machines, to create a sound more closely aligned with the ‘rock’ aspect of the folk-rock genre. In addition to their studio albums, Mumford and Sons are known for their exhilarating live performances at festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella.
- Sigh No More (2009) – Peaked at No. 2 on both the British and American charts; won for British Album of the Year at the 2011 BRIT Awards.
- Babel (2012) – Certified double-platinum, with U.S. sales of over 2.7 million; includes the hit single “I Will Wait”; won for Album of the Year at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
- Wilder Mind (2015) – Debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and the U.S.; features the singles “Believe” and “The Wolf”.