Written by Nelson in 1963, “Pretty Paper” became a hit the following year in the hands of Roy Orbison, whose version coupled the tale of a forlorn street vendor with lush strings and backup singers. Nelson did his own typically minimalist recording 15 years later for the Pretty Paper LP, and the Lumineers’ new rendition follows very much in the Red Headed Stranger’s vein. Singer Wesley Schultz is accompanied only by the choppy strumming of an acoustic guitar on this decidedly lo-fi recording, which sounds like it’s being transmitted from an empty, echoing room.
Proceeds for “Pretty Paper” go to the Brown Paper Bag Movement, a grassroots campaign based in New York City to provide food and clothing to the homeless. The Lumineers also recently participated in 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, hosted by former Vice President Al Gore.