Songwriters: Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane, Country Marshall, Ben Lovett
One of the biggest music trends of the last few years is the increasing popularity of roots music leading to a renewed interest in folk, Americana, bluegrass – pretty much alt-anything. Storming ahead of everyone is British quartet Mumford & Sons. The folk-rockers arrived on the scene at exactly the right time, toured relentlessly, and saw their record sales soar, with the most recent release, Babel, even outselling Justin Bieber.
Trying to keep the scope of UCN somewhat focused, I did not expect to write a single review for ‘I Will Wait,’ but the band now has itself a truly organic crossover hit. The song was originally released on August 7, was not specifically promoted to country radio, but by the end of November, spins on five country radio stations (three in Florida, one in Arizona, one in Texas) pulled it into the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. ‘I Will Wait’ has already topped the Billboard Rock Songs and Alternative Songs charts, and here is why.
Everything about this is well done.
A reflection of their at times maniacal tour schedule interspersed with the stability of home, the song opens, Well I came home / Like a stone / And I fell heavy into your arms / These days of dust / Which we’ve known / Will blow away with this new sun. A quiet version of the chorus follows before the song starts building up momentum; an interpretation of returning home exhausted, regrouping, and gathering energy to get back on the road.
By the third verse, sanity has returned and a determined Mumford sings, Now I’ll be bold / As well as strong / And use my head alongside my heart / So tame my flesh / And fix my eyes / A tethered mind freed from the lies.
More than the driving kick drum, what sends this song forward is Mumford’s vocal delivery. He often goes into the next line with the same breath, demanding your attention with an urgency that is impossible to ignore. Spurred on by Marshall’s frenetic banjo, the song soon becomes an unyielding force. The foursome’s harmonizing really lifts out the bridge; a pretty piece of poetry in this, by now, cauldron of musical energy: Raise my hands / Paint my spirit gold / And bow my head / Keep my heart slow.
And just when you feel the song might have reached its crescendo, the band kicks it up another notch as the final chorus erupts with an almost shouted exuberance. ‘I Will Wait’ is a perfect piece of folk-rock that more than deserves to be introduced to the wider country radio audience.
Marvel at the energy in the video below from Mumford & Sons performance at Red Rocks in Colorado in August of 2012, taken from their The Road to Red Rocks documentary.