Friday, February 25, 2011

"Friday Night Frolic" - Sigh No More (the weekend is here!)

Zest and Gusto.

There's a distinct drop beyond that gentle slope: the steep cut of the double black diamond. And though you have a map, you can't be sure of what lies beyond the gnarly, spiral drop. The mind sees the angle and asks, How the hell do I maneuver down this, and where does it smooth out and straighten?  The passage is narrow, with a double fall line which will require some skillful carving. You're going to have to pick your way down this baby.

She closes her eyes for a while, and forces a patient smile. She wants this. After all, she introduced us to the run, skated right up to it, and declared she was ready. Ready for the double black.

Alright then, I say, let's do it.

Wait, I'm not sure, Mama! she shouts into the clouds. I've already worked my way down a portion of the upper ledge; I turn up toward the top of the mountain where she's leaning on her poles, and nod affirmatively, reassuring her that she's ready, reminding her that she brought her brother and me to this sleek, snow-covered gap. So she swallows the fear, and tears down the gully, edges dug in, teeth grinding, thighs burning, and arrives at the bottom with the widest grin I've ever seen her wear.

This is how Mumford & Sons introduce their music to us. With zest and gusto. But they also understand and accept, even appreciate, inevitable weak moments. They are young, so young that my maternal instincts kick inhell, I'm old enough to be their motherwhen I hear them cry about giving their all, rolling stones away, bellowing how love will not betray you, dismay you or enslave you. Boys singing about desires, regrets and redemption at such a young age can bring a mother to tears. I want to pull them into my bosom and reassure them of their capabilities and marvelousness, tell them I'm happy for them, excited by what they've become and what they will continue to be and do. Embracing their talents and gifts, they're carving a unique place for themselves in music's history.

But these young menBen Lovett, Country Winston, Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwanehave apparently received plenty of good mothering. Yes, some sweet love and attention and encouragement. It's evident in their song, voice and posture. There's warmth in their hearts, in their music, and even on their website, which includes Marcus' Book Club (where he discusses The Outline of Sanitya visionary manual exploring the increasing common suspicion that there must be an alternative to the "fast-paced and meaningless blur of modern life"which he claims changed his life);  Ben's Recipes (like an alternative full English fry-up, and other on the road catering ideas); and, Ted's Photographybeautiful sepia-toned rooftop portraits in which the London sky threatens storm.

They are approachable and real, their music steeped in raw honesty, as well as a distinct Shakespearean influence. At the heart of their songwriting is love, life, death, and true poetry.

Inside their debut album's liner, they offer recognition by noting: "We would like to thank our makers and keepers, with all of our heart; those who are close to us even when we are far away. Without you we would not have made this album."

I'd like to echo the majestic mountain's desire: Design your own maps, or wing it if it so pleases. Blaze the trail. Carve through narrow passages. Keep digging those edges in. Don't worry about the fall line or where it all straightens out. You see far beyond ita parallel glide through sweeping landscape of mountains and valleys, and sunny skies.


  1. This album was probably my favorite album of 2010, and I still listen to it on repeat frequently. In a time when we have the soulless Justin Biebers and bland, cater-to-the-masses Katy Perrys, this is real music. Wonderful post!

  2. I'm a little behind the times on this group. I saw them on the Grammy's and fell in love with their sound. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great weekend!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. I like the sound of Mumford And Sons and I'm definitely going to check out their album.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

  4. My one-year-old grandson loves the sound of this band. He sings along, and his parents, having some divine kind of fore-knowledge, have aptly named him Lyric.
    Mumford and Sons is a band you listen to when your in the mood to set your soul free for a while.

  5. I meant "you're." I don't know why I keep messing that up.

  6. Welcome back, Jayne. Love these boys. I know exactly what you mean by that maternal instinct kicking in. Funny, isn't it? We're the opposite of young groupies, I suppose. But wait, you ski double black diamond? That's impressive. I think ziplining might be too tame for you!

  7. Thank you for pulling me out from underneath my rock! Have a great weekend!

  8. That was a nice music break for me. Thanks for introducing me to more songs. I only know that one on the radio.

  9. interesting music - I wasn't at all familiar with these cats.

  10. The double black diamond, wow. Kudos to your daughter. I'd imagine that managing the double black diamond gives one amazing life skills for all kinds of navigating.

  11. Skiing looks excellent fun! Hope you all had a good break this week.

    Great music too.

  12. Thanks for introducing me to Mumford & Sons. They remind me of another band I like, Fleet Foxes. I'm excited to have some new music to look for now!
    My husband and daughter just left for a day of skiing in W.Virginia. Sunny with temps. in the 50s should make it a nice day for them.

  13. Beer- Yes, it's one of those rare little albums on which every song is moving and masterful.

    Jules- I missed the Grammy's (as I do w/just about everything on TV), but I'll bet a lot of folks were introduced the M&S for the first time on the awards show. This little bad deserves the recognition. ;)

    Paul- They're addictive. Enjoy!

    Nessa- Great story! You know a band has hit it big when their music appeals to all generations. And I do that "your" thing all the time, too. Spelling is not corrected here - I know it's type-os. ;)

  14. I love your rich description, and the opening paragraphs are wonderful! Yes, I also like these lads, plus having lived the largest part of my life in London, they also evoke so much imagery for me!

  15. Seré- I never want to grow out of being a groupie! I love listening to new bands and finding original sounds still off the radar. So much talent out there.
    And we're talking double blacks in New England. I think they're tamer here, although icier! Come to think of it, the last time I was out west skiing was a long time ago--how I miss those bowls!
    My kids have done the zip - so I'm next! ;)

    T.A.- My pleasure. It's good to get out for the weekend. :)

    Lydia- Glad you took a break. You know what they say about all work and no play... ;)

    David- These cats are Brits!

    Joanne- Agreed. It's a real confidence booster - if you can tackle a mountain, those little humps along the way are a piece of cake.

    SF- We had a terrific break. My favorite kind: fun, fresh air and exercise. And sleep like a baby!

    Leonora- Yes, excellent comparison. Another band that tends to fly under the radar! Love the White Winter Hymnal and Blue Ridge Mountains. Gorgeous harmony there. FF are coming to Boston in May, and I'm going to the show! Maybe I should add them to my FNF list?
    You might also like the Avett Brothers? If you haven't heard them, check out my Frolic list. :)

  16. Shrinky- Thank you. And yes, aren't they such sweet boys? I'd love to see them in their home town. Can always count on London for some great music. ;)

  17. i like these guys.

    every band ought to have a bass fiddle. if they don't own a van they should at least have a cello.

  18. I've greatly enjoyed the video and your enthusiastic writing about "Mumford and Sons" band.

    It is very touching, your referring to them as boys with talent ,to yourself as a mother who would like to embrace and encourage them, to their music as honest and their lyrics as poetry.

  19. BP- The instrumentation on this album is brilliant. It's the dobro and mandolin that get me. But I love that string bass, too. ;)

    Duta- Thanks for that. I have a son with a real artistic soul, and watching these guys makes me believe that that their parents, like me, always said "follow your heart." Maybe parental advice should be more grounded, but if what I believe is true, it sure worked well for these guys.

  20. I love this band too and I know what you mean about how their lyrics stimulate that maternal instinct. As a mother of teens to twenty-somethings, witnessing youthful idealism requires walking a fine line between the innocence and experience of my own life, knowing when to nurture, when to release and recognizing the difference.

  21. Jayne, I love your banner photo. Wanted to say I will be back when I have time to listen to the music. From the comments, I am excited...feel I'm on the brink of a discovery.

  22. Lee- Ah yes, it's tip toeing the tightrope alright. ;)

    Marylinn- Glad you stopped by. Take time to listen--great music!

  23. I always liked the idea of skiing, but really it was the constant falling and the unrelenting pain that tended to make me the most valuable player in the ski lodge.

  24. I was introduced to this band by my 14 year old son. My son thinks the lead singer looks like Tim Tebow, so that is what I think of every time I see

  25. Loach- A tough way to earn MVP. But someone's gotta do it. Ouch. ;)
    (That was me in the beginnning--trust me!)

    Michelle- How sad am I, I had to look up Tim Tebow. And your son's right on --the resemblance is striking! Wonder if Tebow sings? ;)

  26. Talking with my brother who is a music teacher (primary school), composer, arranger, musician in West Australia, he asked me if I knew Mumform and Sons. I said the name was familiar...I remembered it was here I'd seen the post and noted the videos, but had not returned as planned. He told me to listen to THE CAVE, which I did, before stopping back. Music is not my language...where he came by it to be so proficient, I do not know. But THE CAVE fell into a category I would call Anthems of Hope, which got me thinking about what other songs might be on that list. Giving you props...I saw them here first. Thanks.

  27. Marylinn- Coincidences abound. It's funny how within the scope of one little family there can be so many differences. I don't think I got the music gene either, yet, there's always been a soundtrack playing. I wasn't much of a student- took piano lessons for three years and never played as well I would have liked. Maybe I'll fare better w/the banjo.
    "Anthems of Hope" - I like that -just what I need to hear to keep pushing me along! :)