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The Lumineers: Tiny Desk Concert

The Lumineers play a Tiny Desk Concert.
Image credit: Bob Boilen

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The Lumineers showed up at the Tiny Desk with family, friends and crew who travel with the tight-knit touring band. One special guest in particular was Lenny, the toddler son of lead singer Wes Schultz. As soon as Bob Boilen met Lenny, Bob searched for every toy he could find on the shelves behind his desk to entertain the restless tyke.

I’ve always been struck by how this band can make a crowd of 6,000 fans feel like an intimate jam session. Halfway through The Lumineers’ set at the Newport Folk Festival in 2013, the entire band moved to the very back of the enormous crowd. I remember marveling that the worst spot in the field miraculously became the best.

Much of The Lumineers’ Tiny Desk comes from the band’s third LP, III, which tells a story of addiction in three acts. They began with gut-wrenching renditions of “Gloria” and “Leader Of The Landslide”(accompanied by a cassette recording of crickets made on iPhones and dubbed to play on a boombox). The third track is also from III, but was an assignment from director M. Night Shyamalan. He tasked Schultz and his suspender-clad writing partner, Jeremiah Fraites, with composing a song for the end credits of a film. “Jer and I worked really hard on that, and then he didn’t need it,” Schultz confessed. The result is the stark and haunting “Salt And The Sea,”which strikes a different chord than any other song they’ve written.

It wouldn’t be a Lumineers show without a foot-stompin’ sing-along to end the set, which came with their crowd-pleasing hit “Stubborn Love”. Stelth Ulvang demonstrated a level of barefoot acrobatics unrivaled at the desk thus far, not an easy feat (or should I say, feet). Right after the Tiny Desk concert, the band and entourage rushed off to play a little club in town called the Capital One Arena for another intimate show in front of 20,000 fans.


  • “Gloria” “
  • “Leader of the Landslide”
  • “April (instrumental)”
  • “Salt And The Sea”
  • “Stubborn Love”


Wesley Schultz; guitar, vocals; Jeremiah Fraites: drums, piano, vocals; Stelth Ulvang: piano, accordian, vocals; Lauren Jacobson: violin, piano, vocals; Byron Isaacs: bass, vocals; Brandon Miller: percussion, guitar, vocals


Producers: Josh Rogosin, Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Bronson Arcuri; Editor: Melany Rochester; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Shanti Hands; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Bob Boilen/NPR

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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