The Lumineers might just be the most exciting thing happening in Colorado music right now — and that’s funny for a number of reasons.
One, exciting wouldn’t be the first word you’d naturally pick to describe the band’s folksy catalog. (More-suitable options: breathtaking, infectious, endearing, wizened, chilling, melodic.)
And two, the Lumineers don’t have a deep-rooted Colorado story — one of multiple rehearsal spaces and early gigs and different incarnations. The band, fronted by Wes Schultz, started in New Jersey and later moved to Brooklyn — and now Denver.
“We moved (to Denver) from New York, trying to find a fresh start and devote full-time attention to playing music and not having to worry about cost of living,” Schultz said a few weeks ago as his band’s eponymous debut was being released.
So far, Denver has been fruitful ground for Schultz and his gang, which includes Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek. Their sound is a good fit in the West, and they’ve built a rock-solid buzz on the strength of the Dylanesque single “Ho Hey.”
Their South by Southwest performance led to mentions in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. They had their TV debut on “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.” Their Dualtone record debuted at
No. 43 on the Billboard Top 200 chart earlier this week, selling more than 10,000 copies. And since the band’s May 11 show at the Bluebird Theater sold out, they recently announced a second show there, on the 12th.
“Once we got here, we started meeting a phenomenal bunch of musicians,” Schultz said of Denver, “and coming from the background of the New York scene — and the ego that is present in that scene, where sometimes they don’t even think anything exists outside of it — the whole scene in Denver was so rich, and I didn’t necessarily expect that.”
Schultz’s voice is a chills-inducing mix of singer-songwriter gristle and folksy twang. Impressively, his vocals are every bit as intoxicating live as they are on record — and they fit his band’s stripped-down aesthetic like a well-worn leather work glove.
And the new album, “The Lumineers,” is a lovely representation of the band at its best. They spent three years on the record — “and then another 10 months,” Schultz said. And while many bands overdo their first outing in a real studio, the Lumineers accomplished exactly what they wanted to this time around.
“This was what we wanted to do,” Schultz said. “The record is an extension of the demos we did. And we were really proud of our demos. We ended up recording, mixing, mastering it — and remixing and remastering it — and we’re psyched with the final result. It’s the way we wanted it to sound.
“If it sounds like a mistake, it’s not — or it is, and we kept it in there.”