Last year, Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show joined forces for the Railroad Revival Tour, a trek that took them through the American Southwest on a journey that was nearly as long as the names of the band names involved.
Director Emmett Malloy rode along with them, capturing each show and every magical moment aboard the rails … and now, he’s brought it all together in a brand-new documentary, “Big Easy Express,” which premiered during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. And at the premiere, MTV News caught up with three of the stars — Mumford’s Ben Lovett, Edward Sharpe’s Alex Ebert and Old Crow’s Gill Landry — to talk about making the film, which, from the sound of things, wasn’t really much work at all.
“We weren’t trying to make some ‘great film’ or anything. It didn’t feel like that, we were just enjoying this experience that was laid out, and doing gigs and traveling in a bizarre way between the two,” Landry said. “And the great thing about Emmett, and this documentary, was that it didn’t invade any of that, it didn’t feel forced or staged. So, no, we weren’t scrubbing up on our documentary history beforehand.”
“It was like the biggest party you’ve ever been to,” Landry laughed. “It lasted for a week, and you just couldn’t afford to throw another one afterwards.”
Though you get the feeling everyone involved would’ve liked to try, because just hearing the three reminisce on the tour, you can tell that it was one they’ll remember for a long time. Not just for the musical moments, but for everything that happened between the shows too.
“It was about the joy of music, the joy of camaraderie,” Landry said. “We’re each, individually, quite different bands, we don’t play the same music, we come from different places — England, Los Angeles, Nashville — but we all came together and just played … played our hearts out. It was really amazing.”
“It came at quite an interesting time. We’ve all gone on to making records pretty soon after the tour,” Ebert said. “So, I think it’s impossible to deny the influence both of the spirit and the music that we had on that trip … something happened.”
And to that end, even though there’s still no theatrical premiere for “Big Easy Express” (a publicist told MTV News it’ll hit theaters nationally later this year), all three bands are beginning to make plans for a sequel … to the tour, at least.
“I think twinkling in the back of everyone’s mind is maybe doing something again,” Sharpe said. “We’ve talked about weird ways to top that or have a different experience … a zeppelin or a riverboat … I think a zeppelin’s more realistic.”