Wesley Schultz – best known as singer, guitarist, and co-founder of The Lumineers – is releasing his solo debut at the end of the month. Vignettes, out October 30, will find Schultz exploring his influences and early inspirations through a series of cover songs – originally penned by such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Sheryl Crow, Jim Croce, Derek and the Dominos, and Warren Zevon.
Today, Schultz shared a behind-the-scenes look at Vignettes and offered a bit of insight into his early days as a musician.
Vignettes was co-produced by longtime collaborator Simone Felice of The Felice Brothers, who helmed The Lumineers’ Cleopatra and III. David Baron co-produced, mixed, and engineered the record at Sun Mountain Studios in upstate New York.
Recorded over five sessions last month, the ten-track LP features Schultz on guitar and vocals, backed by Baron on piano, along with a variety of special guests – including famed backing singer Cindy Mizelle (Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews Band), The Felice Brothers’ James Felice on accordion and vocals, the UK-based vocal duo, The Webb Sisters (Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen), and acclaimed singer-songwriter Diana DeMuth.
“This album is pulling from a lot of different threads of my past,” explained Schultz in a statement. “‘My City in Ruins,’ ‘Boots of Spanish Leather,’ ‘The Ballad of Lou the Welterweight,’ those are all songs I was covering in bars, way back when I was living in Brooklyn in 2008. That was within days of when I’d written ‘Ho Hey’ and ‘Life In The City’ and ‘Flowers In Your Hair,’ all in this same little apartment. It was a rich time for me creatively and these covers were sort of informing my songwriting, just studying all these different artists.”
He continued, “I was introduced to a lot of music through other artists, listening to their covers and then going backward. So part of this record is the joy of exposing something that you know is beautiful, while trying to make it your own so that they both can stand on their own two feet. It’s almost like you’re showing people your personal playlist, your inspiration.”
“The way I envisioned this album,” added Schultz, “was as if you had all these songs represented by little houses on a street, and then a tornado ripped through the town and tore them all the way down to the studs and foundation…that’s what you’d have with every one of these songs after I re-imagined them. I was also trying to create something that doesn’t ask anything from the listener – it’s simply a companion, a friend in both good times and bad. Like how I listen to James Taylor’s greatest hits, often, and it just seems to soothe me.”
Earlier this month, Schultz’s bandmate – Lumineers co-founder, drummer, and pianist Jeremiah Fraites – announced his own solo album.
Vignettes is available October 30. Scroll down to view the tracklist and preorder it here.
1. My City of Ruins (Bruce Springsteen)
2. Downtown Train (Tom Waits)
3. Green Eyes (Coldplay)
4. If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
5. Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby (Counting Crows)
6. Bell Bottom Blues (Eric Clapton/Bobby Whitlock)
7. Operator (Jim Croce)
8. Boots of Spanish Leather (Bob Dylan)
9. The Ballad of Lou the Welterweight (The Felice Brothers)
10. Keep Me In Your Heart (Warren Zevon)