Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry at the Troy High School Auditorium, Troy, Ohio
Over the course of two days, we camped out in the high school auditorium of Troy High School, in Troy, Ohio, where Mumford & Sons had brought their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover. The school was deserted, the hallways squeaky with linoleum polish, the lockers lonely as we ushered hot and sweaty musicians in the propped open side doors. The entire city was transformed into a Mumford/mustache appreciation zone, with the iconic 'stache attached to every building, mural, statue and sign in the city limits.
The high school had no air-conditioning and temperatures were sultry and stuffy, but as these sessions took place, it's where everyone wanted to be. The crash session had a full front two rows -- the on-lookers needing to be there to witness the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros member's set. It was as magical of a session as we've ever recorded -- the stage filled with musical admirers who wanted to contribute. Ross Holmes and Matt Menefee of ChessBoxer, and players in Mumford & Sons extended band, were mainstays in the auditorium, toting their instruments with them every time they crossed the street to get back to the high school, roped into another taping. Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show spent a lot of time in the auditorium as well and he offers some of his songs to the spirit of everything that Gentlemen of the Road is. Rubblebucket brought in the largest ensemble, following their Saturday set, to perform an epic version of one of their songs.
Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane were often joining in or watching from the wings, feeling like this is the atmosphere that they always envisioned accompanying these tours. Marcus left the stage in Troy and said to me, "It's shows like these that make me want to play music all night." He rounded up Justin Hayward-Young of The Vaccines and -- after taking a dip in the pool at the waterpark on site and driving around a car with an enormous chicken's head affixed to its hood -- they wandered over to the auditorium around 2 am to record versions of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and Neil Young's "Like A Hurricane." Listening to and watching everything that happened there, during those two days in September, it brings chills. Long live Gentlemen of the Road!
Mumford & Sons Official Site