In late 2011, The Lumineers started a social media frenzy with their megahit, “Ho Hey,” which was seemingly everywhere the following year. It was featured on TV shows, commercials, Guitar Hero and was even parodied on Jimmy Fallon’s show with Fallon, Blake Shelton and Nick Offerman clucking along to the song while wearing chicken suits. The song is also one of the most widely covered tracks on the Internet—pretty much everyone who owned a ukelele back then learned to play that song. In 2012, the band released their self-titled debut album, which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart and resulted in two Grammy nominations—Best Americana Album and Best New Artist. The album garnered positive reviews from Paste and many other outlets.
In 2011, the band performed a Daytrotter session, which included four tracks from their debut album. They performed “Flowers In Your Hair,” “Ho Hey,” “The Dead Sea” and “Slow It Down.” Paste contributor Alexandra Fletcher wrote at the time of the album’s release:
The Lumineers’ debut record is instantly gratifying—and not in the hasty, shallow way often found in pre-fab pop songs either. While some records take days or months to properly digest, there’s an instant connection here similar to that sonic euphoria many people found upon hearing their first roaring Mumford song, favorite Dylan lyric or perfect Head and The Heart harmony. The camaraderie is evident both onstage and on the record. Neyla Pekarek’s graceful strings, the steady roll of Jeremiah Fraites’ on the drums, and the charming twang of lead singer Wesley Schultz generate a sense of warmth and candor that the recent folk revival has been missing.
Listen to The Lumineers’ 2011 Daytrotter session and hear the band before they exploded onto the mainstream.
And watch them perform at a Paste party in Austin, Texas, a year later: