The Lumineers' Ho Hey took off at a time when Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers were becoming huge festival bands, leading more than a few critics to accuse the Denver folk-rockers of cashing in on the musical fad of the moment.
"It's just funny to assume a band could somehow rip off another band with a snap of a finger and put out a record," said singer Wesley Schultz, calling from a tour stop in Kentucky. "We've been doing this for a good while, so it felt like lazy journalism. People just wanted to make something out of nothing."
Sure, he said, there are similarities between the Lumineers and the Mumfords. "You have some basic elements, a lot of acoustic guitars, some shouting, some elements of folk that were borrowed by both bands."
In fact, the artist to which Schultz feels most of a kinship isn't Marcus Mumford, but rather Florida's own Tom Petty.
"This is concise, minimal music with emphasis on melody," Schultz said of Petty. "It's pop music. For me, he (Petty) always transcended a lot of lines. That's something we we're trying to do. We weren't trying to be your ultimate folkster folk band. This is not for that. We were just trying to write stuff that really spoke to us and hopefully can cut through a lot of age groups and people, and have a connection and a message or a story behind it that was more than just fluff."
The Lumineers perform with Dr. Dog and Nathaniel Rateliff at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. Tickets start at $25. Click here for details.
For our full interview with the Lumineers' Wesley Schultz, click here.