Grammy-nominated group The Lumineers will grace the stage this week to share stories of struggle with its newest album, “III.”
The Denver-based folk rock band will visit the Schottenstein Center Tuesday on its North American tour. The Lumineers released “III,” its third album, in September 2019 as a platform to discuss mental illness and addiction through the fictional Sparks family, Emily Ginsberg, the band’s publicist, said in an email.
The album, which is broken into three chapters, showcases the struggles of mother Gloria, her son Jimmy and her grandson Junior, Ginsberg said. The third song of the album, titled “Gloria,” follows a woman’s relationships as she struggles with addiction. The second song of the third chapter, “Jimmy Sparks,” showcases how his mother’s addiction has affected his and, subsequently, his son’s life after he grows up to become an alcoholic.
While the Sparks family is fictional, The Lumineers’ personal relationship with addiction is real. Lead singer Wesley Schultz described how he and his wife have been attempting to care for a family member who has struggled with alcoholism for about 10 years. Schultz said the relative has been in and out of rehab, spent time in jail and homeless, and while they’ve tried to care for her, their efforts have been futile.
“When we were writing the album, I had never really, I guess, processed it, and this was just a step in that direction and just trying to understand it and trying to understand her a little more through songs,” Shultz told The Lantern. “Not necessarily having an answer at all, just trying to describe what was going on.”
Drummer Jeremiah Fraites is also no stranger to the evils of addiction, Shultz said. He said Fraites’ older brother Josh, with whom Shultz grew up, died of a heroin overdose at 19.
Shultz said that since putting the album out, they’ve realized many people have been affected by addiction.
While the album breaches somber topics, the tracks themselves often hold fast-paced, upbeat rhythms. Shultz said this style choice came from the music with which he grew up.
“That’s the type of music I love and grew up listening to, was this sort of clash or collision. It’s kind of like a good movie. It has this beauty to it and this darkness, as well. It’s three-dimensional. If it was just all a really dark and dreary sounding song with dark and dreary lyrics, I don’t know if I’d want to listen to something like that,” Shultz said.
Each song on the album has an accompanying video, all of which make up a film when strung together, Ginsberg said. Shultz said he never quite took to the idea of music videos growing up because they seemed more like paid advertisements for the band than anything else.
“I always liked those rare videos where they didn’t focus on the band but they focused on the story,” Schultz said. “I think for us it was exciting — the prospect of putting out music videos and telling the story in a more vivid way,” Shultz said.
The Lumineers will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $32 on Ticketmaster.