The thing about Mumford & Sons is that, while small-time new age Americana bands may try and try, there is no way to really replicate the original recipe. That makes it all the more exciting, then, when artists, whether they be big-time, small-time, somewhere in-between, respect the merry band of talented Brits enough to cover their established work. There is no possible way that a cover performance could particularly sound like the way Marcus Mumford conveys his vocal, and those who are able to take one of his group’s songs and perform it in a way that both respects the band and is better-suited to what they as individual entities are should be madly respected themselves. So, without further ado, from tracks off of “Sigh No More” to “Babel”, here a but five of the best Mumford & Sons cover songs that I’ve been able to find from off of YouTube.
1. “White Blank Page”, as performed by Kate McGill
The particular channel that hosts this performance isn’t very much active anymore, since the popular UK-based YouTube artists has since begun a new channel dedicated to her band, Meadowlark. With that being said, the sheer number of over a million views should be telling enough as far as the quality of this cover of “White Blank Page” goes. McGill tackles the work in a way that is soft, sweet, vulnerable, and all her own, and it comes across as very respectful of the source material. You can tell, furthermore, that she not only respects the material but understands it, and her delivery of the song comes across as genuine mint as a result.
2. “Winter Winds”, as performed by Tim and Lenny
YouTuber TheShiz22, otherwise known as just Tim, is indeed an alternative rock performer, but one more along the lines of a band like All Time Low than the rootsy Mumford & Sons. The beauty in this performance, in which he is accompanied by his friend, Lenny, is that he makes no effort in order to hide that fact while performing a song that was originally performed by a folk artist. Tim knows who he is as an artist through his performance style, which arguably suits his voice quite well, and therefore has an air of legitimacy about him which you can’t say many cover artists do. Listening to “Winter Winds” performed in his style makes for a very interesting, and good, listen, indeed.
3. “I Will Wait”, as performed by Hannah Trigwell
When listening to the original music of YouTube artist Hannah Trigwell, one realizes that her sound isn’t just inspired from off of one particular artist or genre. For instance, her debut single, “Pieces”, lies musically somewhere between the sweet melodies of Colbie Caillait or Sara Bareilles, the vocal angst of David Cook, and the lyrical genius of many a modern folk artist, such as Mumford & Sons. While that may sound like an odd fit, it fits like a glove for Trigwell, and as a result, all of her YouTube covers come across as equally genuine and one-of-a-kind. Her cover of “I Will Wait” is both pretty and substantial.
4. “Babel”, as performed by Jack Vallier
Now, given the subject matter of this video, one might imagine that it would have several thousand more views than it does, especially since it is a genuinely good cover. The young Jack Vallier navigates the title track of the award-winning “Babel” album in a way that is both pop-smart and soul-smart. By that, I mean that this kid, although admittedly still a bit green in performance style, has mainstream potential, as his natural arrangement skills show off both a collection of well-timed soulful runs and poppy inflections. With that said, he’s not prepped to be the next Justin Bieber, nor should he aim to be. He already transcends the realm of modern mainstream music, yet he understands it, and all sorts of music, in a way that he naturally grabs from it and incorporates it into his own unique performance style. With that in mind, paired with that guitar and that accent, he could be a future international lady-killer set somewhere within the world of soulful, rootsy alternative music.
5. “Where Are You Now”, as performed by Broken Wagon Wheel
If there were ever a sincere-enough cover of Mumford & Sons which could capture the same sort of honesty that the source band themselves demonstrates during their live performances, it’s up-and-coming indie band, Broken Wagon Wheel’s, cover of “Where Are You Now”. Everything, from the thoughtful arrangement to the unaltered, untrained, and beautifully pure vocal displayed by both singers, this band’s cover is golden. It is very clear that they are great appreciators of music who are able to truly imbue their honest essence into any song that they perform. Whatever success that does come their way will be success that they right-well deserve.