So this musical moment is not a bad one compared to many others I could think (the rap-metal scare of 1999-2001, anyone?).
This moment is cool because (at least for now) it’s about authenticity and the roots of Americana, even for the British acts. We’re talking acoustic guitars, accordions, fiddles, a stand-up bass, tambourines, hand claps, foot stomps and even the occassional washboard. But it’s more folky than country-western (modern country music being the most offensive of any art form ever created, including fascist propaganda during the 1930’s and that guy who painted the Virgin Mary with his own urine).
But this kind of music makes sense for the current moment. I saw a band rocking out with banjo and strings (and no drum kit) up at Cambridge, Massachusetts the other night. The college kids were into it because it felt authentic and real and earthy – an antithetical option away from all the gloss and autotune garbage that occupies the Top 40 (is there even a such thing anymore?).
The acts that have somewhat broken out in this genre include Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. You could make the case that last year’s Decemberists record fits the mold and you could even pull in Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes if you needed to (new album this week!).
But tonight we’re going to hear from a new band called the Lumineers. Led by 29-year-old Wesley Schultz, a childhood friend and a cellist/pianist named Neyla they picked up along the way, the Lumineers hail from Denver after paying their dues in the New York scene. Their debut self-titled album came out on April 3rd and I’ve just begun working it into the regular rotation.
Check it out here and check out the lead single, Ho Hey:
Pretty great, huh.