Awake My Soul
My friend Nancy Jane introduced me to Mumford & Sons in 2009. Like me, one of Nancy Jane’s spiritual gifts is making mix tapes. I remember the song “Roll Away Your Stone” was among the tracks of dear artists like Amos Lee, Ray LaMontagne and Mindy Smith. Because I’m a bit of a slow mover, I didn’t drink the Mumford Kool-Aid right away. It’s not that I didn’t like them — I did. But at the time, I was dealing with another knee surgery, a new niece and a new album by Michael Buble. Obsessing over Mumford album wasn’t on my radar.
About year later, I heard “Awake My Soul” and stopped in my tracks. This was the moment I decided to investigate the band. As a result, I fell in love with other songs on the “Sigh No More” album. Once “Babel” came along in 2012, I was ready to campaign as the president of the Houston chapter of the Mumford & Sons Fan Club. Not only was I drinking the Kool-Aid, I was selling it on a busy corner in my neighborhood. I think I may have hyperventilated when I heard they were coming to Houston in 2013.
It wasn’t a question — I would be attending this concert.
Obtaining tickets for a popular concert is what nightmares are made of, in my opinion. Even if you are sitting at your computer, hitting refresh on Internet Explorer and Firefox, your plans can be thwarted. Thirty-seconds into the gut-wrenching, blood pressure-spiking, butt-clenching process, my friend Amy had secured three tickets on the lawn at an outdoor pavilion.
I was going to see my boys.
The concert was one of the best I have ever attended. To this day, only a handful of artists even compare to that experience. I remember staring at the stage in front of me. I remember all the people who had come together to enjoy the lyrics and musical stylings of this band. I remember everyone singing in unison. I remember raising my hands. I remember knowing that these were my people.
I also remember my friend Susan looking around wondering out loud, “Why are these people videoing everything? Why can’t they just be in the moment?”
I believe she’s right. Since that concert, I only take one or two pictures or videos so I can remember the night. Then I sit back and let the talent wash over me. It’s extremely satisfying.
In 2015, Mumford & Sons released a new album called “Wilder Mind.” The rumors were true. It was ELECTRIC and I immediately balked. I like my Mumford acoustic and folksy with a little bluegrass thrown in for good measure. Ben should be jamming on a piano. Ted should be twirling a double bass. Winston should be picking a banjo. And Marcus should be fiercely strumming a guitar while pounding on a kick drum at the same time. Don’t even get me started on my beloved horn section.
I gave the album a quick listen. I paused when I detected the beginning of one song that sounded like the opening chords of “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze, but it morphed into something hard hitting. I boycotted the entire album when I heard a synthesizer. The band sounded like Coldplay or Radiohead. I was not a happy camper.
When their next tour was announced, I didn’t hesitate to get tickets. Many instructed me to give the new album another chance, knowing that they would more than likely highlight their most recent tracks at the concert. Because I am an open-minded person, I gave it another go.
I remember my friend Audrey asking me how the process was going. I told her that I still didn’t love what I was hearing, but I didn’t like “Believe.” And “The Wolf” was pretty good too. “Wilder Mind” was fun and “Ditmas” just made me happy. “Only Love” wasn’t that bad and I could get behind “Monster.”
That’s half the album. Interesting. Do I like electric Mumford & Sons?
After attending the concert last night, I can confirm, without a doubt, that their new stuff is incredible. I had a moment of heartburn when I thought they would play their old hits with electric instruments, but they didn’t. The concert is definitely in my top five of all time.
I have been trying to figure out what it is about these guys that makes me so happy and I think I have the answer. The guys were having a ball. You can see it on their faces. These boys are passionate about their music, their instruments, their lyrics, their fans and each other. You can feel it in the air. It’s electric, as well as contagious. And I was lucky to see the talent up close and personal. It was glorious.
I enjoy witnessing people do what they love to do. That’s why I love live entertainment. Broadway musicals, sporting events, dance competitions and even listening to authors read their own books in the audio version gives me a shot of adrenaline like nothing else. It’s inspiring to see people share their passion and talents.
It definitely puts a fire in my belly, that’s for sure.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mumford & Sons, may I suggest you listen to a few tracks that make me happy? These are the ones with poignant lyrics and/or runs that build to big moments. Most are stadium songs, which is a fancy way of saying they sound really good if you sing them loud in your car. Ignore the f-bombs. Or embrace them if that’s your thing. Enjoy!
If you want to see a live clip from last night, feel free to check out any of my social media feeds. I apologize in advance for the bouncing video. I was jumping — trying to hold my camera while making a memory.
— The Cave
— Roll Away Your Stone
— Little Lion Man
— Awake My Soul
— I Will Wait
— Lover of the Light
— Below My Feet
— The Wolf
— Wilder Mind
May I also suggest the entire “The Road to Redrocks” album? It’s live and it’s my jam. Here’s one of my favorite songs from that concert: