"New York had lied to me. I needed the truth." So sing The Lumineers, who fled the city, stifled by the hard realities of high rent, limited practice space, and constant demands on their free time. Songwriting partners for years, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites moved to Denver, where The Lumineers found space to grow. And though The Lumineers are folk revivalists, Shultz and Fraites found their missing piece with a purely 21st-century stroke of digital luck, recruiting Neyla Pekarek on cello and mandolin via Craigslist. The band's breakthrough success this year — fueled by the rollicking single "Ho Hey" — stems from the slow and steady effort they put into writing songs over three years before releasing The Lumineers on Dualtone Records in April. With a boost from TV — The Lumineers have performed on The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Tonight Show, and Conan — the band has sold more than 260,000 copies and climbed to number 11 on the Billboard albums chart. You know "Ho Hey," but check out "Flowers in Your Hair," with its rolling, finger-picked guitar and Schultz's been-there-done-that lyrics: "It's a long road to wisdom, but it's a short one to being ignored." Or the barroom love song "Classy Girls," or the aching ballad "Dead Sea," or the piano ditty "Flapper Girls."
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