Neyla Pekarek, of the Grammy-nominated Lumineers, has announced her departure from the band to begin her solo career. The news of her departure comes with the announcement of her new concept album, Rattlesnake, and its lead track, “Train.”
According to an article from Variety, Pekarek released a statement about her departure: “They say when a snake sheds its skin, it is a sign of rebirth, transformation, and new beginnings. Eight years ago, I answered a Craigslist ad to be in a band. In those eight years, we were nominated for two Grammys, we met President Obama, and we saw just about every dark, dingy green room this big, beautiful planet has to offer. I am incredibly grateful for these experiences and opportunities, but it is time to shed my skin; it is time for a new adventure.”
Rattlesnakes are a major theme for the phase of Pekarek’s career. Her new album, Train, is based on the western heroine, Rattlesnake Kate. A hero in the band’s home state of Colorado, Rattlesnake Kate earned her nickname after killing 140 rattlesnakes to protect her three-year-old son.
After learning about Kate in 2015 Pekarek became increasingly fascinated by the historical figure, which led to her becoming interested in writing her new album. Pekarek’s goal is to tell the story of someone she considers a feminist icon and hopes to eventually create a musical about Kate’s life.
The Lumineers commented on her departure saying that every band “continually grows, changes & evolves.” The band also wished her the best on her future solo career.
“These changes aren’t always easy but are an unavoidable part of life,” the Lumineers said, “After writing, recording and touring the world together for the past eight years, Neyla has made the decision to leave the Lumineers in order to pursue her solo career. We wish her nothing but the best going forward.”
Pekarek’s departure is a major change for the band, who has been playing together since 2002. Original members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites started the band in New York City, before relocating to Denver. There they added Keparek as a third member, before gaining national attention with their hit single “Ho Hey” in 2011. Since then they have been one of the most popular Americana acts in the country.