Long before I ever heard they released anything my students ( I was a University Chaplain at the time) were raving about Mumford & Sons. Their live act is perhaps what they are actually about. It is about the happening and the joyous or time lamenting vibe created within a community. That some of the band started out doing worship music makes more sense of the experiential in the DNA.
It is also perhaps why they have been releasing live DVDs and CDs throughout their career.
This is a most delightful souvenir of their Delta Tour in 2019. In just six songs they have documented that trademark organic energy as well as their love for the communal; Gang Of Youths, Milk Carton Kids and Dermot Kennedy guesting.
As well as three guests, there are three covers. The last one With A Little Help From My Friends has the mighty Irish voice of Dermot Kennedy joining in and it is a perfect sign long for that community aspect of a Mumford gig.
Most intriguing is their attempt at Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt. Hurt became iconic as the last testament of Johnny Cash. They Mumfords do a. Great job at belting those two versions together starting out stark and then lifting to the loudest of raged out crescendos.
The third cover is originally by Australian band The Middle East and the guests are another Australian band Gang Of Youths who were the support act on the Delta Tour. Blood is a mysterious lyric, poetic and meandering. There is a lot of death and it is that cathartic side of Mumford, blending lament and hope:
And you’ll find somebody you can blame
And you’ll follow the creek that runs out into the sea
And you’ll find the peace of the Lord
The other collaboration is on a vintage Mumford original. The Milk Carton Kids. Their lo-fi feel makes Awake My Soul into this meditative near liturgical piece. I want to play it in my daily devotions and seek the Spirit’s grace and imagination to live its proverbial wisdom:
“In these bodies we will live
And in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love
You invest your life
Awake my soul”
Delta Tour EP is an utter treat. Side 2 with Hurt, Awake My Soul and With A Little Help From My Friends is one of the tastiest sides of a live EP you’ll hear in a long while.