The Wit and Wisdom of the Lumineers

One of the most interesting bands I have found in recent years is the Lumineers. They are hard to describe in a few words, hard to nail down to a genre or style. iTunes describes them as “front porch Americana.” Not a bad start.

I want to consider a few of the great traits of this band, to share with you what I like about this band, and to share why I think you they deserve a listen – if you haven’t already! Their eponymous first studio album came out in 2012, so I’m at least hoping there’s more to come from them soon.

In the meantime, this is a band from Denver, and I’m from Denver, and it would be neat to see them play there sometime! But for now, my sense of the Lumineers.

A Sense of History

One of the things that stands out about the Lumineers is their sense of history. They sing songs set solidly in the past, and seem to capture some of the feeling from the time. They tap back into the Roaring Twenties, World War II, and Vietnam.

This is the Americana feeling that people get from the band: tapping into the nation’s past, and reveling a bit in the past. It doesn’t necessarily glorify these moments, either, but instead just considers them. The uncertain life of the Flapper Girl; the person no one believes when he cries “Submarines!” (instead of wolf); and the Charlie Boy who volunteered to fight in Vietnam.

The band is thoughtful with history, giving quite a bit of weight to their songs.

A Sense of Community

This is less concrete than the history references, but the Lumineers also celebrate community. This is part of the front-porch folk feeling people get from the band – the feeling that these are normal folks, are like us.

I think the best song to represent this is their song the “Big Parade,” that explains a bit of the life of the various people walking in the parade, and gives an image of them passing by: the candidate, the welterweight, the beauty queens, the priest, the marching bands. Their songs are full of people, and images, and give a sense of life.

Wisdom in the Lyrics

When they’re not getting specific about people’s lives, giving images, or American history, the Lumineers are giving advice, making observations on the world and how it works. My kind of lyrics. Here are a few of my favorites:

And when their lyrics aren’t enough, their songs break down to sounds. They are willing to use their voices as part of the music, to enhance the experience. Part of the success of their hit single “Ho Hey,” I would say.

15 thoughts on “The Wit and Wisdom of the Lumineers

  1. Now you’ve made me want to go and listen to the rest of this album. I really like “Ho Hey”, it’s a song that can be played over and over and over on the radio (as radio likes to do) but never gets old. And I also like Stubborn Love, but I haven’t taken the time to listen to their other songs… Now I will. Thanks…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I absolutely love this ablum. The songs are clean and simple, but they’ve got a great ability to hit home and get you thinking. The music is a nice combination of vocals and guitar that takes just enough of folk music to make it feel humble, but not too much.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I Love The Lumineers and Ho Hey is literally played multiple times daily in my home. Thanks for shining a light on them and keep up the good work. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on DBCII and commented:

    Here’s my contributed post! Been too busy for a new post on DBCII… busy writing for these many other blogs! If you haven’t seen this, though, a little self-promotion seems in order 🙂


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