Schultz and his bandmate Jeremiah Fraites patiently played by the music industry’s rules, releasing their first two albums, 2012’s The Lumineers” and 2016’s Cleopatra,” the traditional way.
the lumineers tour nyc – The Lumineers Album III” Narrates A Story Of Family Addiction
In collaboration with Fraites, whose expressive piano plays a central role in the drama and beauty of these songs, Schultz refined and connected the characters who inhabited the songs they’d worked up. There would be a family tree spanning three generations: the grandmother, Gloria Sparks; her son, Jimmy Sparks; and her grandson, Junior Sparks. RAZ: When Wesley got the quote, he’d been living in New York – this was a few years ago – and he and his childhood friend Jeremiah Fraites were both working odd jobs and struggling to make it as a band. And that’s when they wrote this song.
The last EP concentrates on the father of Junior and son of Gloria — Jimmy Sparks. The song Jimmy Sparks” reveals Jimmy’s character development, from finding his first love in a girl named Bonnie to living the life of a single dad trying to make ends meet. The listener learns of shocking things he did to provide for his son. Through selling blood, gambling and having loan sharks take pretty much everything he owns, Jimmy finds ways to provide for Junior.
III is the third album by two-time GRAMMY-nominated band The Lumineers, whose line up is original members and songwriters Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites plus Lauren Jacobson, Stelth Ulvang, Byron Isaacs and Brandon Miller. III follows two platinum albums the 2012 self-titled debut and the 2016 sophomore album Cleopatra. The single Gloria”, released April 4, quickly shot up to top ten at both the Triple A and Alternative formats, as well as the #1 positon on the Americana chart. The band has seen tremendous success at radio including 18 #1 hits on Triple A, Alternative and other radio charts, including Ophelia” maintaining #1 for 13 weeks on Triple A. The Lumineers became only the second artist in history to hold the top slot on the Triple A chart for that length of time. The band has sold out tours across the world, with over 300,000 tickets sold on 2017’s Cleopatra World Tour and ended with 27 sold out arena shows.
The album does include a fourth part, which contains bonus tracks,” which I assume are songs that didn’t fit with their album’s narrative. I wasn’t blown away with any of the album; if anything, I was disappointed from the very first song. There was nothing much to complain about regarding any single piece, but none of the pieces really stood out in the first place. Overall, though, III” is a solid album, especially if you’re missing the original Lumineers sound that made them so great.
The album itself is separated into three EPs — literally called I,” II” and III” — to spotlight a family member from each generation of the Sparks. In support of their new album, “III,” The Lumineers are coming to Cleveland on Feb. 8 to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
We don’t know how many great albums we have left,” says Schultz. And so he and Fraites push themselves harder and try not to worry about commercial success, instead making music that they’re passionate about.
The album then transitions the listener to the next chapter about Junior Sparks. He is first introduced in the song It Wasn’t Easy Being Happy For You,” which tells the story of his first heartbreak. Leader of the Landslide,” tells the narrative of Junior getting older when it’s just him and his father, Jimmy Sparks, living together. They have a rough relationship full of physical abuse from Jimmy toward Junior. That leads Junior to start drinking, which parallels Donna and Gloria’s relationship in the first album. The EP concludes with an exploration of Junior’s grief due to the absence of his mother, who left the family and left him alone with his abusive father.
III dives even deeper into the muck of humanity than past Lumineers efforts, and because of that, Schultz thinks it might alienate some fans. But while the lyrics tell troubling stories, they’re as sing-along-inducing as ever.
Lyrically, The Lumineers use searing imagery, painting a picture with each song. This picture — the life of Gloria, her son Jimmy and her grandson, Junior — is even further illuminated by the heartbreaking short film that accompanies the record.
The Lumineer’s fans aren’t strangers to the band crossing musical boundaries and exploring different artistic mediums. Their second album Cleopatra,” released in 2016, brought to life five different story lines, releasing short films which eventually formed a complete overlapping narrative.
Fraites and Schultz were able to let the art do most of the talking thanks to the impressive narrative they built for their music videos, helmed by Super Dark Times” director Kevin Phillips and starring actors Anna Cordell, Nick Stahl and Charlie Tahan. Listeners can truly be wrapped up in the story of it all by watching the beautiful short films, which screened as a whole at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. They fearlessly detail Gloria Sparks’ (Cordell) battle with alcoholism, and show how the disease is seemingly passed down generation to generation.
With the two band members’ unfortunate connection to addiction, their album follows three generations of a family as they struggle with their own addictions. The first generation introduced is Gloria, who is an alcoholic struggling to take care of her child while maintaining her marriage.
Fraites stepped out from behind the drum kit for a campfire-ready take of “Flowers in Your Hair,” and only Schultz and Fraites performed “Slow It Down,” the song speeding up with the horsepower of a full rock band, even though it just featured Schultz singing and strumming his guitar while Fraites triggered a kick drum and banged a tambourine on the stage floor.
RAZ: You guys are just about to launch a national tour. You’re going to go to the U.K. and Ireland, you’re going to tour with The Civil Wars, who’ve been on this program – a great band. What does it – what’s it feel like, you know, having taken this risk, leaving New York, moving to Denver not even knowing what was going to happen, and now people are really – you’re starting to get national attention for your music.
The Lumineers’ self-titled debut album was released in April 2012, and over the last nine months the Lumineers — now a five-member band — have been almost continuously on tour as their gigs have grown from club dates to the opening slot at Dave Matthews’s arena shows. When the Lumineers headlined the New Year’s Eve show at the Ogden Theater here, the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, was in the audience. Wes Schultz had them completely in the palm of his hand,” the governor said in a telephone interview.
RAZ: That’s Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites. They’re the cofounders of the band The Lumineers. Their self-titled debut album is out now. You can hear a few tracks at our website, Wesley, Jeremiah, thank you so much. And good luck this year.
The ambition of this album grew as the songs began to take shape and form this bigger family and story. For me, the interesting thing that came out of writing about addiction in a family is the enduring love within it — that is both the beauty and the tragedy of loving an addict. There’s an unbreakable bond, for better or worse.
Childhood friends Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz are the heart and soul of The Lumineers. Originally from Ramsey, New Jersey (and longtime WFUV listeners and members), the band has grown from living rooms to stadiums over their 15 years together.
The Lumineers have announced a 2020 headlining North American tour and will visit Little Caesars Arena in The District Detroit on Friday, February 7 at 7 p.m. The tour dates are in support of their upcoming album III out September 13 on Dualtone (an Entertainment One Company) in the U.S. and Canada, and on Decca Records for the rest of the world. Mt. Joy, who recently emerged as a fast and furious 21st century success story” (Magnet) will be support.
The Lumineers have announced a 2020 headlining North American tour of arenas and amphitheatres. The tour dates are in support of their upcoming album III out September 13 on Dualtone (an Entertainment One Company) in the U.S. and Canada, and on Decca Records for the rest of the world.
The Lumineers are really on to something here. Each video is more impactful than the last, and humanizing the devastating effects of addiction is a brave yet important undertaking. Watch below. The entire album III will be out on September 13th via Dualtone Music Group, Inc.
The album follows the life of the Sparks family: Gloria, her son Jimmy and her grandson, Junior. The songs illustrate the destructiveness addiction can have on a family. Across the album, the lyrics are strong and visual, allowing the listener to truly feel and imagine the story. The band has also released music videos for each song to comprise a 10-part short film. So far, they have released six of the parts.