Hangout Fest profile: The Lumineers

Hangout Fest profile: The Lumineers
The Lumineers will play Hangout Fest in advance of their third album's September release. (contributed)

Performer: The Lumineers

Hangout Fest: Sunday, May 19, from 9:35 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the Hangout Fest Stage

Type of music: Indie/folk rock

About: True story: Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz, who grew up together in New Jersey and founded the Lumineers, were once in a band named Free Beer.

“When Wes and I got together, our first band name was Free Beer,” Fraites, the Lumineers’ drummer, told the Chicago Tribune in 2012. “It wasn’t serious at first. We were a crappy band doing (terrible) covers. But we slowly started getting away from covers and writing originals. We were doing everything: vanilla singer-songwriter stuff, hard rock, electronic music. There was no focus; it was a mad, random mess.”

Another true story: The band’s name came courtesy of a mistake.

The Lumineers’ huge success with their 2012 debut album was years in the making. (contributed)

“We were playing a small club in Jersey City, N.J.,” Schultz, who sings and plays guitar, told People magazine in 2013, “and there was a band out there at the time called Lumineers who were slotted for the same time, same day, the next week. The person running the show that night (mistakenly) announced us as The Lumineers.”

And maybe the truest story of all: The Lumineers, who close out the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores at 9:35 p.m. Sunday, May 19, weren’t an overnight success – even though it may have seemed that way when they exploded onto the national scene in 2012 with the monster hit “Ho Hey.” That song anchored the group’s self-titled debut album, which climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and led to two Grammy nominations: Best Americana Album and Best New Artist. The Lumineers performed “Hey Ho” – which peaked at No. 3 and spent 62 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 – at the Grammy Awards.

“Gloria” is the first single from the Lumineers’ forthcoming album. (contributed)

For Schultz and Fraites, attaining those lofty heights took almost a decade. The pair began writing songs and playing gigs in New York City in the early 2000s but didn’t find much success. They decided in 2009 to move to Denver, Colorado, and soon after met classically trained cellist Neyla Pekarek, who accepted their invitation to join the band.

After the success of “The Lumineers,” the band contributed two songs to “The Hunger Games” franchise. In 2016, the group released its second album, “Cleopatra,” which spawned the singles “Ophelia,” “Cleopatra” and “Angela,” all of which reached the top five at Alternative radio.

Pekarek left the Lumineers in 2018 to pursue a solo career, and the band has since added Lauren Jacobson, who has appeared on each Lumineers album, as a touring member. She joins pianist Stelth Ulvang, bassist Byron Isaacs and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Miller.

The group’s third album, “III,” is scheduled for release this year.


“The Lumineers” (2012)

“Cleopatra” (2016)

“III” (due out in September)

You might have heard:

“Ho Hey,” “Stubborn Love,” “Ophelia,” “Cleopatra,” “Angela,” “Gloria”

For fans of: Mumford and Sons, the Head and the Heart, Lord Huron, the Avett Brothers



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