The Lumineers might not technically be Southern, but we’d be more than happy to claim them. This Colorado-based trio delivers all of the elements we like to think of as the “new Nashville sound.” With heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics, honest storytelling, and a whole posse of strings, their brand of Americana is selling out concert halls across the region, nay, the world. And we’re not ashamed to admit we’ve got their self-titled debut album playing on a steady loop (we might even have “Ho Hey” obsessively on repeat).
They’re about to embark on a European tour with north Alabama darlings The Civil Wars. But before they go, you can catch them tonight (11:35/10:35 pm central) on the Late Show with David Letterman playing their break-out single “Ho Hey.” And they’ll be back down South starting December 11, touring with Dave Matthews.
Just a few nights ago, we caught up with them at Workplay in Birmingham, Alabama, where they shared their affection for the South. “I went to college at the University of Richmond in Virginia,” says bandleader Wesley Schultz. “It feels familiar being down here—that hospitality. There’s just some different mentality. If you dropped us here and blindfolded us, even without hearing the accent, we’d know we were in the South. There’s just some sort of innate friendliness to the region that you can pick out really quickly,” he says.
One thing they’re always looking for on the road? Great places to eat. In Oxford, Mississippi, they hit up local favorite Ajax Diner for some rib-stickin’ grub: chicken & dumplings, broccoli casserole, fried okra—the works. Cellist Neyla Pekarek says, “We’re pretty good about eating locally and seeking out what the towns are known for.” Wes adds, “We try to find the best spots locals say to go. We’re always looking for the insider track. We can go to T.G.I. Friday’s anywhere.” Percussionist Jeremiah Fraites sums it up with, “There’s nothing worse than a bad meal on the road.”
Where should they eat in your town? Here’s the upcoming tour schedule. You tell us, and we’ll be sure to pass it along. You know, just showing them a little more of that Southern hospitality they love.