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 in—hell, I'm old enough to be their mother—when 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 men—Ben Lovett, Country Winston, Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwane—have 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 Sanity—a 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 Photography—beautiful 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 it—a parallel glide through sweeping landscape of mountains and valleys, and sunny skies.