Colorado bands brings folk music to Birmingham



The Lumineers, a Denver-based folk rock band, will be performing at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham on Thursday while on tour with Old Crow Medicine show.

Band members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, both originally from New Jersey, started writing songs and performing together in New York City in 2002. Eventually they decided they needed a change in zip code and relocated to Colorado. After placing a Craigslist ad for a cellist, Neyla Pekarek was the first to respond, and the Lumineers were formed.

While sticking with folk themed music, Fraites said they like to keep the music and lyrics simple.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel or doing anything that different, the songs are super simple,” Fraites said. “The ideas themselves are very simple ideas. Anyone who can play an instrument can play a Lumineers song I think there’s a certain cinematic aspect of our music that I really like.”

Fraites said, unlike many bands, the name Lumineers came about more coincidentally while performing a show in New Jersey.

“We were playing a show in Jersey City about three years ago and [the MC] basically said, ‘Alright, up next, Lumineers’ and we weren’t called that at that point, but I guess the Lumineers were playing next week. After the show we just said, ‘Hey, pretty cool name. Let’s use that.’”

After spending the last several years pursuing music full time, Schultz and Fraites were able to quit their day jobs.

“They say luck is preparation meeting opportunity,” Schultz said. “I think we've had a lot of very fortunate opportunities and also tried to keep our heads down and go to work every day. But all that being said, you can play music and work hard for years and [never have anyone] hear your music on this level. So at the same time we feel pretty damn lucky.”

The band released their first studio album, The Lumineers, on April 3, and their single ‘Ho Hey’ currently ranks number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“I think we spent a lot of time to hand-pick certain songs to make the album,” Fraites said. “We recorded about 13 songs in the album, we kept the best 11 that we thought were worthy of releasing.”

Schultz’s favorite song on the album is ‘Slow It Down’ and he said he is proud after spending many years working on it in their home studio. These home recording sessions consisted of the third floor of Fraites’ parents home in New Jersey, and their dining room in Denver.

“When we got into a ‘real’ studio, we were told that our home recordings just wouldn't fit because they weren't done in a ‘real’ studio,” Schultz said. “We disagreed, and based our decision on how we liked the take - that was a single take of  ‘Slow It Down,’ where the guitar and vocals and the birds were all going on at once, and there was something about it that was very raw and honest. That track is the only one that wasn't done in a ‘real’ studio, and we put it on the album anyway.”

Both Schultz and Fraites have enjoyed the opportunity and experience of being able to tour with Old Crow Medicine Show, occasionally playing alongside them on the stage.

“They’re just fantastic musicians,” Fraites said. “I think it’s really cool because both bands, the Lumineers and Old Crow, are similar enough, but they’re not too similar. It’s really amazing to be around top-notch musicians, I’m really impressed.”

The performance will be held at the Alabama Theatre, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit http://thelumineers.com.

 

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