Tag Archives: Mumford & Sons

The Dunwells are Doing Just Fine

3 Oct

The Dunwells

Every band goes through a point early in their career when they must make a decision on whether or not their music is worth being pursued. It’s a dreaded decision.

That point in the Dunwells’ young career came when the well ran dry and they were without consistent shows. A fortuitous UK tour, an invite to perform at the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis (which they took advantage of and flew in across the pond for despite their lack of funds), and the subsequent winning of the ‘break-out band’ title at the conference, turned around the favor of the British folk band, and since then, dare I say, they are doing quite well.

The Dunwells are one of the more intriguing bands I have profiled in a while. They display an authentic brand of organic Americana (despite their Leeds roots) and their powerful harmonies trump folk contemporaries like Mumford and Sons. The band also demonstrates a keen interest in creating variety in their music. Acoustic ballads much akin to Justin Nozuka or even Eric Hutchinson are followed by toe-tapping, riff-smashing Tom Petty-like songs. If I have one criticism with several folk bands today, it is with their lack of variety. The Dunwells crush that convention and then let their skillful harmonies do the rest of the talking.

The band was formed by Joseph and David Dunwell, two brothers and former solo performers, in October of 2009. They recruited friends and local musicians to complete their band, eventually ending up with a lineup that consisted of them, Jonny Lamb (drums), David Hanson (lead guitar), and Jonny Lamb’s cousin Rob Clayton (bass). They released their debut single (“Elizabeth” – below) in 2010 and it achieved moderate chart success. Eventually, they were recognized for all the skills mentioned above. It just so happened it came by way of former Cutting Crew keyboardist Tony Moore, who spotted the band and invited them to the folk festival in the United States which then led to them being signed by Austin, Texas-based label, Traffic Records.

The Dunwells released their sweet debut Blind Sighted Faith on February 14, 2012. They are now making their rounds touring, and recently were showcased on the Jay Leno Show (their television debut) in August of this year.

This is a great sample of why I am so high on this band. This is one of those acoustic ballads I mentioned before. At first listen, I was blown away by the Backstreet Boys harmonies. Seriously, they are that smooth. But do you know what’s scary? There are no effects added to this piece. This is purely acoustic. They are naturally this talented. The song itself is soothing and constructed well. The vocal interplay later in the song is fresh and skillful. It is actually difficult to not like this song.

And then BOOM. You are hit square in the face by a song that you could swear is by another band (until you hear the harmonies). The blues-saturated, powerful folk/rock song features instrumental breakdowns, vocal repetition, and a damn effect-driven electric guitar solo. It is an example of a band that knows hard work, exasperation, and, well, good music. No, great music. The inter-connectedness and fortitude supporting the band is refreshing, and I am excited to hear more from them in the future. This is most certainly a band to watch.

Find out more about the band by following their Facebook or Twitter. You can also check out their website

Coachella: Mumford and Sons and Ratatat – Dave Matthews Band Caravan Chicago

18 Apr

Coachella and Mumford and SonsMumford and Sons’ Saturday set at the three-day Coachella festival that wrapped up yesterday night portrayed why they are considered one of the best new folk/indie groups to hit the scene. Well, new may be pushing it. They have been around since 2007, but have only released one album. An epic album, in every sense of its nature, but only one. I will still consider them a burgeoning talent.

I caught the encore of Mumford and Sons’ 8:30 p.m. set last night on Coachella’s live feed on Youtube. By the way, that is an awesome idea. It’s difficult to get out to festivals (especially if they are across the country), so a live Youtube feed (that doesn’t lag) is much appreciated.

The set was wonderful. Mumford and Sons’ live prowess is clear. They truck through songs with beautiful folk ease. A solid brass section was a welcome addition to the band’s already tight-knit sound. During the set, Mumford and Sons’ revealed a new song, “Lover’s Eyes,” that provides evidence of the direction the band is going in. Good news for those who enjoyed Sigh No More.

“Lover’s Eyes” is led by Marcus Mumford‘s excellent voice. The acoustic riff sounds a little like “War Was in Color” by Carbon Leaf (especially the ending hammer-on). The song follows a trademark Mumford and Sons’ pattern. That is the gradual crescendo. The soft beginning turns into a strong, hard-strummed ending with brass and harmonized “la’s.” I can see it being a mid-level hit off of the eventual new album.

Clearly, though, the best song from their set was “Little Lion Man,” which shatters folk boundaries with its greatness.

Notice at 1:10-1:15 into the song Mumford breaks a string on his acoustic. He strums his guitar incredibly hard so it is not surprising. He doesn’t stop the show or make a fuss. He plays like nothing happened. That is professional and a wonderful live characteristic. This band may be young, but they play like live veterans. Excellent show!

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Ratatat My Coachella Surprise

Let me premise this section. Okocim often talks of Ratatat. He has even shown me their music. They were not my favorite. I sort-of scoffed at his recommendation. Well, absolutely no more. A good live performance can change your opinion of any band. Ratatat’s live set on Sunday night was both musically composed and crazy. The band taps into the rich psychedelic past and pulls out elements that they include in their own music…and it is awesome.

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Dave Matthews Band’s Caravan Tour Heating Up

While we are on the subject of music festivals, I want to highlight the next venue on the Dave Matthews Band Caravan Tour. The first venue announced was Atlantic City, and the heralded list of musicians is tempting me to buy a three-day pass. The second, Chicago, will take place from July 8-10. While I live farther away from Chicago than Atlantic City (it is like an 11 hour difference), the Chicago line-up excites me more. Atlantic City does have Guster, but, as much as they are awesome, I have seen them twice. Let’s peek into the Chicago line-up.

David Gray

Ray LaMontagne

O.A.R.

Kid Cudi.

The Flaming Lips (performing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon)

Amos Lee

Michael Franti and Spearhead

Alberta Cross

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Emmylou Harris

Ben Folds

G Love and Special Sauce

Gomez

Soulive

The Wailers

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Also, some artists from Summer Camp 2011 Music Festival will be featured on a special stage on Saturday. That festival (May 27-29 in Illinois) features acts like Widespread Panic, moe, Umphrey’s Mcgee, The Avett Brothers, Girl Talk, Wiz Khalifa, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Punch Brothers, and Lubriphonic (who I profiled over a year ago here).

I bolded the two reasons I want to go to the Chicago show more than Atlantic City. The Ben Folds case is interesting. I have promised my girlfriend, Rebecca, that I will take her to see Ben Folds. I want to see him too, so it is a win-win. But she will be on vacation during the Chicago show, and, if I go to see Ben Folds without her, I will be killed. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is fair game and I just really want to see them. Chicago, though, is 13 hours away and it might be a little impractical to think I will be able to get out to the show.

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