A powerful wave of new British acoustic based music – which some would, arguably, call folk – is sweeping the country, and breaking on far distant shores.
Lynn Roberts talks to some of the bands and artists at the heart of it all, and concludes that a genuine sense of communality and sharing is unique to their success.
Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling
Barely a week goes by without news of another mainstream success for Mumford & Sons. A number one album in Australia, appearances on prime time US chat shows, selling out legendary New York venue the Bowery Ballroom, gaining the attention of – and then hanging out with – actor Jake Gyllenhaal… the list goes on.
At the same time, the band’s friend and sometime collaborator Laura Marling is the darling of the critics, with both her albums nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, glowing reviews from well-respected newspapers and websites and frequent appearances on US radio stations including NPR.
Marling and Mumford & Sons are heading up a revival of folk- and roots-inspired music from London. The move began in the mid-noughties amongst a close circle of friends united by their love of music and community, and has since mushroomed, spawning record labels, websites and countless other bands.
The Bosun’s Locker
It all started in the Bosun’s Locker, an unassuming basement venue on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London that held just 80 people. It was there that ‘Country’ Winston Marshall – now Mumford & Sons’ banjo player – ran folk nights for his friends and friends of friends.