Mumford & Sons – oh, you remember them don’t you ? The band that caused the largest schism in UK Americana history (possibly). Well, divisive as they are it can’t really be denied that they raised the profile of a more rootsy approach to Indy Rock. They were the band that made the banjo cool – you’ll recall Emmylou Harris saying words to that effect. They toured with a Nobel prize winner. They sold a lot of records. They ditched the banjo on their last album.
Be all that as it may – the Americana Music Association UK are proud to announce that this February the recipients of the Trailblazer Award at the UK Americana Awards 2018 will be Mumford & Sons. The band appreciate it too, as Ben Lovett (one of he sons) has said :”We’re very honoured to be included in this year’s UK Americana Awards. From ‘Folk-Rock’ to ‘Bluegrass’ to ‘Country’ to ‘Folk and Roll’ we’ve never fully felt comfortable with labels that people have put on our music. To us, it’s just the sound that we make, drawing on all sorts of influences from America and elsewhere. Americana encapsulates this patchwork of influence most broadly and to be recognised alongside some of our heroes is truly humbling.”
The purpose of the Trailblazer Award is to celebrate a UK artist, duo or group that has taken an exceptional path, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps in developing the Americana genre. Stevie Freeman, CEO AMA-UK, commented:
“We are over the moon that Mumford & Sons are accepting this award from us as we’ve always felt they’ve been instrumental in taking UK Americana music world wide. They’ve really opened doors for countless other bands to walk through and have helped bring banjo and acoustic instruments back into the popular domain. Sigh No More was an incredibly influential album for the genre, remaining in the UK charts for 72 weeks! It won the band a Brit Award and reached number two in the UK and US charts, with many other top ten positions around the world too. They’ve since been rewarded with two Grammy Awards, and two number one albums on both sides of the Atlantic for Babel and Wilder Mind. Babel won them a second Brit Award for the British Album of the Year. Something else that I know Mumford & Sons are hugely proud of is the global development of their own travelling festival, the Gentlemen of The Road Stopovers. These weekend events have toured the UK, USA and Australia, with the aim to involve and work together with local communities and business in towns and cities that might not usually feature on regular touring schedules. Very quickly it has become hugely successful, celebrating independence in all its forms, giving upcoming young artists a unique opportunity to perform to large audiences, and bringing big household names to the fans they might not have had a chance to perform to. The line-up, surrounding stalls, and ambience of the whole event is curated and nurtured by Mumford & Sons and their team, and of course all the hard work and goodwill of the local people.”
The UK Americana Awards show 2018 at Hackney Empire on Thursday February 1st will be hosted by legendary broadcaster Bob Harris OBE and will feature performances from nominees and award winners, including Robert Plant, The Wandering Hearts and newly announced, Imelda May. Ethan Johns will once again be musical director. The winners of the seven AMA-UK membership-voted categories will receive their awards from specially invited guest presenters and the best-selling UK Americana album of 2017 will be recognised with a special award.