Mumford and Sons — a/k/a the dudes who brought banjo and coal-miner chic from a bluegrass jam to a major arena near you — have done what many fail to, in popular music: They’ve recovered from hiatus, and are set to release the third record that fans weren’t so sure they’d ever see. An unexpected twist in this development? Wilder Mind has New York City written all over and through it.
This morning, Mumford and Sons — Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, and Winston Marshall — confirmed the May 4 release of Wilder Mind, the follow-up to 2012’s Grammy-winning Babel, along with the album’s track list. Of Wilder Mind‘s twelve songs, two pull from NYC neighborhoods or locations, with “Tompkins Square Park” leading off the album and Brooklyn’s “Ditmas” rounding it out as the tenth track.
While that normally wouldn’t be enough to dub New York and Brooklyn muses seemingly tapped for the English folk-rock band’s latest, the city and its boroughs have played huge parts in the professional and personal lives of its various members since they opted to take a break in 2013. Under the direction of T Bone Burnett (and alongside Justin Timberlake), Mumford was a key player in the musical touchstones and soundtrack for Inside Llewyn Davis, the Oscar- and Golden Globe–nominated drama that followed the down-on-his-luck folk singer of the same name as he tried to play and sell his songs in the Village of the Sixties while living out of a rucksack. Lovett, Mumford and Sons’ keys and accordion player, has been living in Carroll Gardens and working tirelessly on Communion, the organization and record label he co-founded, which hosts a monthly residency at the Rockwood Music Hall. London, Texas, and Brooklyn were the locations where Mumford and Sons wrote Wilder Mind‘s tunes, but Brooklyn is where they got a little help from their friends — or, more specifically, Aaron Dessner of the National, who played host to the band in his garage studio for the initial demos — and where the songs of Wilder Mind really started to take shape, and without the predominantly acoustic stage setup they’d previously abided by.
Between the geo-tagged songs and the NYC-centric pursuits of its members during their time off from the band, the ties between Mumford and Sons and New York are only growing stronger — and it’s clear that the city has left an imprint on one of the most anticipated records of the year.
Mumford & Sons will headline Bonnaroo, Reading & Leeds, and a number of tour dates this summer. Communion’s next club night takes place at the Rockwood Music Hall on March 4.
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