On this year's "Who is that?" Grammy Awards — when incensed Justin Bieber fans unleashed vitriolic Internet attacks on Esperanza Spalding and Arcade Fire after their respective wins — Mumford & Sons was among the acts inspiring some curious Google searches and Twitter posts. The group, nominated for Best New Artist, had a decent following of college students and twee types before its Grammy performance with fellow folk rockers Avett Brothers and, the artist who influenced both bands, Bob Dylan. But the telecast thrust Mumford & Sons into the mainstream and caused a massive uptick in album sales — U.S. sales of the band's 2009 debut Sigh No More jumped 99 percent following the telecast. Now the band is selling out shows on the six-city Railroad Revival Tour, which ends in New Orleans right before the its performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Following a trend wrought by Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, the London quartet combines pastoral folk harmonies with the country- and bluegrass-influenced sounds of the Avett Brothers. On Sigh No More third single "The Cave," terse, emotive declarations ("But I will hold on hope/ And I won't let you choke/ On the noose around your neck") build up to a jangling, foot-stomping release of banjoes and horns.
Indie-folk contemporaries Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros — known for causing rollicking sing-a-longs to its effusive hoe-down "Home" — and roots rockers Old Crow Medicine Show join Mumford & Sons on the Railroad Revival Tour that started April 21 in Oakland, Calif. For the tour, all three bands eat, sleep and record on a 1,500-foot-long train consisting of 15 vintage railcars, and then play sets in outdoor locations. If this sounds like an indie-rock reality show, footage from the train and the tour will fittingly be used for an upcoming documentary. — Lauren LaBorde
Railroad Revival Tour
6:10 p.m. Wednesday
Woldenberg Park, 1 Canal St.; www.railroadrevivaltour.com
Mumford & Sons
3:25 p.m. Friday
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Gentilly Stage; www.nojazzfest.com