The Great Folk Rock Revival: how bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers are leading a global phenomenon -- plus an ultimate Spotify playlist

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The following is excerpted from a feature in this week’s Entertainment Weekly.

To read the full story, find the issue on newsstands now — and scroll down to stream our ultimate folk-rock playlist featuring ten essential tracks from the current crop of stars, plus a starter kit of earlier classics.

The future of rock & roll looks a whole lot like the past. It’s wearing vintage suspenders and playing the banjo. It’s singing high-lonesome harmonies and rediscovering Woody Guthrie. And it was all over the Grammys this month, as some of the year’s biggest bands took the stage with old-timey instruments and formal attire straight out of There Will Be Blood. Before taking Album of the Year, the night’s top prize, for their Americana-fueled barn burner Babel, British folk-rockers Mumford & Sons showed off their fingerpicking and their fedoras, stomping their weathered boots to their floorboard-rattling anthem “I Will Wait.” Denver indie band the Lumineers strummed their ubiquitous “Ho Hey,” while their bow-tie-clad drummer kept time with a tambourine. After picking up their Best Country Album prize, Atlanta bluegrass lovers Zac Brown Band joined Elton John, Mumford, and more for an all-star Levon Helm tribute, performing the Band’s 1968 classic “The Weight.” For one night, at least, Hollywood felt just about as down-home as the Midnight Ramble, Helm’s legendary Woodstock jam session.

Backstage after the show, sipping from a plastic cup, Marcus Mumford celebrated his win: “It’s f—ing awesome!” he shouted. But he wasn’t quite ready to declare a victory for folk rock just yet. “I think it’s always been around,” he told EW. “And you guys”—meaning Americans—”did a good job of inventing it. The media likes to focus on things at certain times, and that’s good for us. That means we get to play lots of shows.”

Read more:
Mumford & Sons, Sande highlight Brit Awards winners
Bonnaroo lineup announced: McCartney, Mumford, A$AP Rocky, R. Kelly, Bjork and more round out wildly diverse roster
Mumford and Sons announce dates, lineups for ‘Stopover’ mini-fests


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