The Lumineers: “Ho Hey”
Tuesday saw the release of the self-titled, full-length debut from Denver-based trio The Lumineers. The group takes folk and Americana as starting points to craft anthemic songs that are as powerful as they are catchy.
The group began in the wake of a tragedy. In 2002 Lumineers co-founder Jeremiah Fraites lost his older brother Joshua to a drug overdose at age 19. Jeremiah and Joshua’s best friend Wesley Schultz came together to cope with the pain through music. The two New Jersey-bred troubadours tried their hands at making music in New York City, a tough prospect even for the best artist. The pair slogged it out, swimming upstream against both NYC’s high cost of living and the not-insignificant amount of competition to be had there. After a while they decided to head west, with only instruments and a couple of suitcases of clothes in tow. Fraites and Schultz eventually found themselves in Denver where they met cellist Neyla Pekarek through a Craigslist ad the pair posted. Pekarek became an integral part to The Lumineers’ sound. The Lumineers became a trio and started performing at open-mics at places like Denver’s Meadowlark, a hub for the city’s singer-songwriters. In 2009 the band recorded their first demo, which they followed last year with a self-titled EP.
You can hear hints of The Lumineers’ hardscrabble, wayfaring history in tunes like today’s song of the day, “Ho Hey.” The sing-along stomper has a wide-eyed innocence and exuberance that can melt even the hardest of hearts.