Episode 183: Eli Wulfmeier
Air date: 5.31.2017
Most musicians can readily tell you about their influences, but the best musicians can tell you who it was that influenced their influences; they’re always going a step farther back in time and they know full well that all of us here in the current age are standing on the shoulders of the shoulders of giants. The genre of classic rock casts a long shadow, and six decades on from Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, teenagers of the new millennium are just as apt to want a turntable and a laptop as an electric guitar, but many songs from the heyday of rock and roll have found a second life in video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, as well as in beer commercials. Eli Wulfmeier grew up in Michigan, but he sounds like an apple that fell directly off the Allman Brothers’ tree. On guitar, Wulfmeier’s trick bag is full of tried and true rock and roll licks and he executes them with a smooth flair and tasteful approach that can at times lean toward the incendiary. Vocally, he shows an affinity for the amped up blue-eyed soul of the best legacy rock singers. After spending the last decade in California, honing his guitar chops by playing with the likes of Shelby Lynne, Joe Purdy, Leslie Stevens and Jonny Fritz, Wulfmeier has formed a new trio of his own to allow him to showcase his considerable talents as a songwriter, guitarist and singer. That trio, called Leroy From the North, has a style that is not quite jam band territory, but the three-piece format does allow him the flexibility to improvise and change arrangements on the fly. Wulfmeier hews close enough to the elemental building blocks of rock that his songs, singing and guitar playing sound comfortably familiar, and he’s got enough talent in his approach that it still sounds fresh.