The Original Gentlemen of the Road: The Band

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Original image appeared as trade ad for The Band's single "Time To Kill" / "The Shape I'm In"; Billboard Magazine, page 19, 28 November 1970.

Mumford & Sons, indie folk-rock darlings du jour, are currently touring on their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour. Don’t get me wrong; I really, really like Mumford. I consistently enjoy the tunes they turn out, whether riffing on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (“The Cave”) or the earnest love song “I Will Wait,” Mumford & Sons have been a refreshing return to folk rock in an era of over-produced autotune and sampling. Much like Hollywood, it seems the music industry is struggling to actually turn out unique art, so folk rock luminaries are a nice change, and The Gentlemen of the Road Tour promises plenty o’ bluesy, folksy, banjo-inflected crooning. Joined on their tour by the likes of My Morning Jacket, Ben Howard, Jenny Lewis, The Black Keys, and Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons are taking their GOTR tour – now in its third incarnation – to a new set of small cities for a celebration.

Yet, however much I personally enjoy the tunes of groups like Mumford and My Morning Jacket, they remind me of the great debt the resurgence of indie folk rock owes to the "original" gentlemen of the road: The Band.

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Tour Image

Not on all occasions, but usually album releases and tours go hand it hand. In 2015, artists seem to be keeping up with the long time tradition. Check out these four artists/bands who have recently dropped albums and will soon be touring in their support.

Alabama Shakes

New Album: Song & Color

Although they first began gaining popularity a few years back, Alabama Shakes have really taken off in 2015. In April, the band, led by singer and guitarist Brittany Howard released their sophomore album, Song & Color. The album sold 96,000 copies in its first week and became Alabama Shakes first number one album. Song & Color was met with almost all positive reviews and was given a four out of five by Billboard and The Observer.

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In pretty much the best career move ever, Mumford & Sons somehow snagged Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte (of SNL), Jason Bateman ("Arrested Development"), and Ed Helms ("The Office" and "The Hangover") to play them in the band's latest music video. The first few seconds of "Hopeless Wanderer" don't seem much different from previous Mumford & Sons videos. Looks beard-y and hipster-y enough, you know? And then you see it.

I won't give much away about the video because it's worth it to watch till the end. But I'm fairly certain all other artists trying to make music videos can go home now. We're done here.

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