By Kevin Alan Lamb
Memorial Stadium at Troy High was the site – an uncharacteristic setting for three of the biggest bands on the planet to be performing: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show – but the Gentleman of the Road was special like that, picking small towns that could benefit from the financial stimulus of 40k adoring music lovers, dancing in the streets, escaping the heat for a decent meal in an air conditioned establishment; it was a beautiful experience to be a part of, it was the Gentleman of the Road, Troy Stop Over.
The story of the Gentleman of the Road Stopovers began in 2012. Small cities and towns around the world experienced the blessing of hosting a global series of carefully crafted events, that leaned heavily on the participation and efforts of local folk. For this music lover, the journey began with a train bound for glory, and a window into the light and love, that fueled the Big Easy Express.
The Big Easy Express documents the cinematic musical journey of three bands, six cities, one train, and 1,000 miles of track. Monsters of folk Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, bluegrass legends Old Crow Medicine Show, and British sensation Mumford & Sons boarded a vintage train in California, on the railroad revival tour, bound for New Orleans.
As a result of this awe-inspiring journey across the old-west, mutual admiration, joy, and collaboration forged a bond they insisted be carried on, and shared with the world. It comes as little surprise that shared space between some of the most talented musicians in the would manifest what many were fortunate enough to experience as a Gentleman of the Road, Stop Over.
With my closest friends by my side, we crowded onto the green grass, accustomed to football and Friday night lights, and made our way towards the stage, Good Signs held high, accompanied by brilliant smiles. It’s not everyday that you get the chance to see Mumford & Sons perform, let alone in the intimate setting of a festival they hosted. From the front row to the last, beneath the bleachers to its tippy-top, the energy and love beeming from the soul of Marcus Mumford connected a capacity crowd in ecstatic celebration of the music, lyrics, and moments we will never relinquish.
Old Crow Medicine show joined the Mumfords, and rocked Troy with classic “Wagon Wheel”. We held one another, danced with one another, and looked into each other’s eyes knowing that these were moments that would define how we spent our time on this earth. With only one song remaining, Marcus Mumford thanked the city of Troy, and like a firefly in the night, spotted a Good Sign amidst the masses, and said “This is a Good Sign, I really want that sign for my bedroom wall, won’t you send it?”
The heavens opened up, and the lights shined down upon us, and our collective effort to make the world a better place! We were given praise greater than any sum of money, story on Fox News, or award. We were recognized by the man who helped inspire me to invest my love, in the people in my life; the man whose lyrics are inked into the skin upon my back, accompanied by the title of what will be, my greatest creation thus far, “Just Living On Caffeine, Dreams, & Love”. The path of righteousness is not paved with overnight success. It is paved with worn hearts, weary eyes, and the ability to persevere the treacherous road, despite shortness of breath. I like to believe we live in a world where Marcus knows the gifts he has given me; I like to believe that I spent a few of my last dollars on international shipping for a reason, and Marcus has a Good Sign of his own, hanging from his bedroom wall, just like he asked for.