New Music Sounding Fondly Familiar
So many new artists and groups hitting the charts in the past couple of years are familiar in a comfortable way. Some artists seem to be trending toward a more Folksy vibe. Consider Monsters of Folk, Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers.
Monsters of Folk's formation, exemplifies the bonding that brings music lovers together. At the time the group was named in 2004, all members were with other groups or working on solo projects which ultimately delayed the release of their first album until 2009: Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Mike Mogis & Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes and Portland guitarist M. Ward, had frequently encountered each other while on tour, at times sharing the same stage & often sat around backstage, just making music. The title of Monsters of Folk's "Baby Boomer" actually reflects my point quite well, as do these lyrics: "We don't agree about September, could we agree on Vietnam?" This catchy tune reminds me of the 60's & 70's folk music that was a signature of the Baby Boomer generation. An alchemy of sound & the individual styles of its 4 members, imbibe country, folk & bluegrass of old, yet manage to still sound fresh and new.
In the Avett Brothers' "Laundry Room" , its lyrics "I am a breathing time machine" reflect that indeed the Avett Brothers are like a musical time machine. Their banjo, guitar and harmonies are reminiscent of the Travelling Wilburys and celebrate the loving act of making music. Brothers Scott & Seth Avett from North Carolina, joined by bassist Bob Crawford, create folksy tracks infused with pop, rock, bluegrass, honky-tonk, ragtime & country overtones, creating music which sometimes defies description!
With lyrics like "Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all", Mumford & Sons "Awake My Soul" can be likened to the social awareness of the 60's & 70's. The strains of guitar, the lyrical harmonies & a banjo building up the bridge, are all elements of folk, country & bluegrass which are delivered with such enthusiasm by these four 20-something young men from West London. Its hard not to be drawn in by the heart-warming & relevant stories their lyrics tell. In spite of the familial ties the name of the group might suggest, its members are not related. They are four friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett & Ted Dwane, who had performed individually around London with various bands before joining forces in 2007.
The music of all three examples above, brings me back to a time of innocence in my own life, sitting backstage during summer stock theatre's rehearsal breaks, singing and playing the guitar with friends who LOVED music as much as I did. We brought harmony to life, & celebrated friendships through our shared passion for making music, much like the basis for the creation of all three of these groups.