Last week was a big one for the Lumineers: the folk-rockers earned two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Americana Album. When Rolling Stone caught up with the band backstage last weekend at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Xmas, drummer Jeremiah Fraites admitted that the new accolades have left the band more on edge than ever. "When you have so many things going for you, you start to get weary," he said. "I get a little suspicious. When things are bad, there's only one way to go: up. When things are good, there's only one way to go: down. You start to be, ‘What's going on right now? Grammys? Is this a joke?'"
After eight years of making music together, all the attention this year for the release of their self-titled, self-released debut strikes the group as surreal. Their survival tactic has turned gradually to avoidance.
"I always abided by that Bob Dylan quote; I think it was, 'I don't read the bad [reviews] so I'm not gonna read the good ones.' We have to insulate ourselves from that a little bit," said singer-guitarist Wesley Schultz. "We don't want to be steered by that. . . [The Grammy nominations] were this great moment that means a lot of people have heard this record or will hear this record. [When] you work really hard on something, you hope somebody hears it. You don't know how many good records you have inside of you."
"The Grammy thing slipped in and snuck up on me where I almost started to buy into it. I think you want to try and have your own value where you don't look at those accolades," Fraites added.
The Grammys are no longer just about the awards ceremony; nominees now juggle a slew of activities surrounding the telecast, from parties to tribute shows. Typically, the MusiCares event, which honored Paul McCartney last February, is a highlight of the week. As Bruce Springsteen is MusiCares' Person of the Year for 2013, it will surely be the most rocking night of Grammy week and the Lumineers are enthusiastic about attending. "MusiCares we know a little bit about, because they helped us buy back some stolen instruments last September," Fraites said. "When we got our instruments taken in L.A., they helped us buy back a bunch of them. We're happy to be affiliated with that because they certainly came through for us."
If that existing connection means being asked to play at the concert and dinner honoring Springsteen, the band is ready to go. "We're well equipped for that," said Schultz, with some understatement; the Bruce-loving band has covered several Springsteen songs in the past, including "Thunder Road" and "Atlantic City."
Grammy week will be the launch of a busy 2013 for the band, which will include plenty of overseas and U.S. touring, especially during the active summer festival season. They will certainly be more established as a group then, and that it what matters most to Schultz. He said proudly, "To me, it means I don't have to bus tables any time soon."