Mumford & Sons is of those bands, the ones that hipster Hollywood types like Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman — and a few music obsessed mortals like my friend Kiki — seem to know about a good year before the rest of us do. But once you finally get on the bandwagon, you’re awful glad to find yourself there.
Especially if you think that squeezebox, banjo and stand-up bass never really lost their place in good music.
Most folks got their first look at the English power bluegrass (Britgrass? Graygrass?) quartet — made up of Marcus Mumford, “Country” Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane — when they joined fellow folkies the Avett brothers to become a great big, utterly tickled backup band for Bob Dylan on a rousing version of “Maggie’s Farm” at February’s Grammys.
On that evening alone, their debut album “Sigh No More” sold more than 30,000 copies (on its way to a current tally of more than 3 million) — even though their radio play is still primarily confined to college and alternative stations — and the band landed on VH1’s new artist showcase You Oughta Know.
Now the network is bringing the platinum-selling British imports to the “Unplugged” stage when “VH1 Unplugged: Mumford & Sons” debuts this Friday, June 24 at 11pm ET/PT.
Can’t wait that long? You can catch the episode online one day early by logging on to Unplugged.VH1.com at 8pm ET. Wish you could see it in HD? Palladia, MTV Networks’ high-definition music channel, will air the episode on Saturday, June 25 at 9pm ET/PT.
Sneak peek clips from the performance are available now at Unplugged.VH1.com, including the band’s rollicking rendition of The National’s “England” and Marcus Mumford’s entertaining explanation of why they were so pleased to cover a tune that may or may not be offensive to English folk (“Famous angels never come through England/England gets the ones you never need”).
“We’re making it non-offensive,” he says. “It’s sort of like our Rule Brittania song today. As opposed to Ween’s version of ‘Waving My D**k in the Wind’ … which we’ll save for another time.”