2020 Album Draft- Round 10 Pick 4- Run-Sew-Read selects- Mumford & Sons- Babel

This album belongs on my desert island, both for the songs and for the memories. Among my musician friends and family members, this band is either loved or disdained. Mostly it’s disdained by the musicians. But I’m not a musician. And I’ve got some really great memories of hearing these songs.

Maybe it’s because I was here, in row 8 in front of Ted the bass player.

Or here in the crowd of 80k, halfway back on the side of Ben on keyboards. (The previous night, I came face to face with Winston, the banjo player in the crowd waiting for The Stones to take the stage. With all of my willpower, I managed to restrain my inner geek, and simply managed a calm smile, and a, “Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow night.” He graciously smiled and said thank you.)

Then there is this song, that to my knowledge, they never played live after it came out on the album. The band members had famous actors portray them in the video. One of the actors is a legit banjo player; another is a fellow Kansan. And, I like the song, so I confess, this one is high on my list of overplayed favorites. Quite a few of those 80 million YouTube views were me.

About the concerts: After deciding in 2011 to check out their live show in an outdoor plaza concert in KC, I was wow’ed enough that I wanted to see them again. So in 2012, I got tickets when their Red Rocks shows were announced. Then they sort of started showing up where I was going to be, e.g., Glastonbury in 2013, nearby Guthrie, Okla, and then back to Kansas. In June 2013, the band cancelled a few shows on their tour for this album, when Ted, the bass player was stricken with an aneurysm. Really scary. But amazingly, he was recovered in time for Glastonbury at the end of the month.

All of these concerts took place before I ever heard them on the radio here in Wichita. I first recall hearing them on UK streaming radio, in 2010. Then four and a half years, and six concerts later, I was driving in my car in August 2014, and heard a snippet of ‘I Will Wait’, and then, “Hey Mumford and Sons fans, Wichita has an alternative station now!” Alternative? Okaaay….I don’t hear it. But I like the band, and I like alternative, so this radio station changing its format was a very welcome development.

While Babel is a studio album, I really prefer the good live videos of these songs on Youtube. They are at their best as a live outdoors band. Their more recent tours have been a lot of indoor arenas, which I can’t muster interest in. Maybe I’ll see them again sometime, provided it is where they belong–outdoors.

The tracks:

  1. Babel
  2. Whispers in the Dark
  3. I Will Wait
  4. Holland Road
  5. Ghosts That We Knew
  6. Lover of the Light
  7. Lover’s Eyes
  8. Reminder
  9. Hopeless Wanderer
  10. Broken Crown
  11. Below My Feet
  12. Not With Haste
    Bonus tracks
  13. For Those Below
  14. The Boxer (featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon)
  15. Where Are You Now

As for the bonus tracks, I was surprised at ‘The Boxer’. I thought it would be a lot better. But I do really enjoy ‘For Those Below’.


  1. I haven’t heard a lot of them…mostly on blogs but I’ve liked what I’ve heard. Their music is very earthy and grounded. I just listened to some more on youtube…I knew more than I thought…just didn’t know who they were at the time. It’s cool that you got to meet at least one of them.

    I also read an article where they formed a company…I had to look it up, called “Gentlemen of the Road.” Them and other bands tour small towns that normally they wouldn’t play and donate money to that town’s businesses and charities. …it’s a great thing to give back.

    • I’ve been to two Gentlemen of the Road festivals, actually. The concept grew from a one-day event to a multi-day event with camping, etc. I did a blog post on the one in Guthrie, Okla, in 2013. [ https://run-sew-read.com/2013/09/10/stopover/ ] It had to be one of the best ones they did. Superb location, concert lineup, and crowd. The other one I went to was in Buena Vista, Colo, in 2015, I think. That was an awesome location, but the festival itself didn’t seem as inspired. I saw some artists at these festivals I would never have a good opportunity to see otherwise, like The Vaccines, Alabama Shakes, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Flaming Lips.

    • It’s such a good thing to do…first you give fans a chance in smaller places to see someone they normally would not and they give back to the cummunity. I think I read where the Foo Fighters were with them before also.

      Great lineup….

    • It did seem wonderful for the locals, although I’m sure there were skeptics when the proposal was first made. I think the band even did some stuff with the local school, like a soccer match or something musical, I can’t remember for sure which it was. I should have also mentioned, it’s where I got to see Del McCoury. After the headline show on Saturday night, Del and his band played a midnight set on a big stage in the street in downtown Guthrie. I couldn’t believe I was sitting on a curb at midnight on a gorgeous night, in a little town, watching Del McCoury.

  2. I heard them on the ‘New Basement Tapes’ recordings. . I hear where they’re coming from and I like that style and sound. I need to explore more of their music. The “Gentlemen Of The Road” thing is such a good idea. Have to like that.

  3. I love their high energy and their Celtic sound. Their music is new to me but their name isn’t. Will add them to the list of bands to check out. I like your live history with the band which adds a rich dimension to your review, Diana. Wonderful addition to the desert island draft (DID.)

  4. “I will Wait” is the only song I actually “know” by them, and I like that quite a lot, but from time to time I hear a track by them in passing and they usually sound quite alright. From their sound they seem like they’d be a good live act, neat you’ve had the chance to see them more than once and even run into guys from the band! I’m going to look up their take on ‘The Boxer’… a nice ending to your list, Run-sew-run.

    • Just gave it a listen. Actually not bad, but I figure it’s often not advisable to cover well-known, well-loved hit songs since it’s going to be hard to top the original and thus likely to be poorly received. They give it their own little celtic kick though

    • Yes, and with those accomplished artists coming together with the author, to do the cover, I was expecting it to knock my socks off. My expectations couldn’t have been higher. And then it turned out to merely be a lovely cover. 🙂

  5. Great pick Diana! I love Mumford & Sons, and cannot for the life of me understand how anyone could not! I love how they meld rock, folk, bluegrass and Americana to make music that’s rousing, impactful and beautiful. I love Marcus Mumford’s voice too. And yes, their music seems to be identified as ‘Alternative’, and their singles generally appear only on the Alternative charts.

    • Well hello, fellow fan, and thanks! Your description of their music is perfect, imo. And I guess if they fit best in the Alternative category, so be it. They can only make it even better. 🙂

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