Break-Out Stars of 2011 – Mumford & Sons

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"Little Lion Man" is a song that everyone seems to remember hearing for the first time. Unlike anything else on the radio when it hit U.S. airwaves in the summer of 2010, the track was the odd-man-out on popular radio… until it became clear that 1.) It was really, really good, and 2.) The band behind the song, Mumford & Sons, was not going to be a one-hit wonder.  By the end of 2010, they had begun to perform regularly on U.S. network TV, and that led to both an increase in their popularity and their evident status as break-out stars by 2011.

The first single off their debut album entitled Sigh No More, “Little Lion Man” is a sweetly melodic folk song complete with poetic lyrics and twangy banjos. Marcus Mumford, lead vocalist, guitarist, and obvious namesake, has said that the lyrics arose from a dark part of his life, when he wasn’t proud of himself. And indeed, the words can be a big self-chastising. (“Weep for yourself, my man / You’ll never be what is in your heart / Weep little lion man / You’re not as brave as you were at the start”) And yes, there’s certainly an element of melancholy to the lyrics, but overall the track is a very feel-good, sing-loudly-by-yourself song.

By the time the Grammys rolled around in 2010, Mumford & Sons was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Rock Song, as well as asked to play their second single, “The Cave” during the awards show. Not winning was absolutely not a deterrent to their success – they’ve sold over 1,000,000 copies of Sigh No More to date. And better still, “The Cave,” was a terrific follow-up to “Little Lion Man” – proving to the world that they’ve got both a unique sound and the skill for musical variety.

In 2011, aside from playing live throughout the U.S. at many sold-out shows (including Coachella and Bonnaroo), they won three Billboard Music Awards – Top Rock and Top Alternative Albums for Sigh No More, as well as Top Alternative Artist. At this point, they announced they were working on a second album – one that had been written primarily in the U.S., and fans eagerly awaited a potential release date in 2011. However, 2011 has come and gone, with no album to satisfy listeners. The only detail the band has given is a track: “Ghosts That We Knew.” And Mumford has even deemed this title “tentative.” The delay seems to have only added to the buzz surrounding the album; music fans are wondering what the holdup is all about. In the meantime, we’re pacifying our growing anticipation by hoping that good things really do come to those who wait…