Leroy from the North is the debut solo offering from Eli Wulfmeier a singer/guitarist from Los Angeles by way of Michigan. If the name sounds familiar it’s hardly surprising as Eli spent three years as a member of The Wild Feathers; whose 2013, John ‘Jay’ Joyce produced, debut is a cool slab of Eagles/Jayhawks influenced country rock. Eli’s other credits include playing with Katy Rose, Shelby Lynne and Joe Purdy amongst others and he is also a member of female-fronted hard rockers Dorothy. Eli brings all of these influences along for the ride on the five tracks that comprise his ‘Health and Fitness EP.
Recorded at Sunset Sound in LA with Geoff Neal (Chris Robinson, Black Keys, Dwight Yoakam) in the chair the EP sounds great with a nice live, open feel. For the recording, Eli included three tracks that he’d been playing live and got them down on tape with the rhythm section of Derek Brown, Adam Arcos (Sam Morrow Band) and top session man Jeff Babko contributing his keyboard skills. Eli’s claim that his music is “Straight forward, guitar-driven rock with a slight drawl” turns out to be pretty accurate, but he’s selling himself a little short as there’s lots of cool stuff to hear here. ‘Into The Sunset’ sets the scene nicely with a good time country-rock vibe “Just outside of Reno listening to the Eagles” and Eli throws in some neat guitar licks. ‘Here Is My Home’ is a much tougher beast, mean and moody with thick guitars, swirling organ and rumbling bass guitar while ‘Hey Man’ wouldn’t be out of place on a Cheap Trick record. It's full of punky, power-pop attitude and Eli even finds room for some pretty impressive Van Halenesque guitar playing on a track with lots going on - check out the drum and bass interplay mid tune.
The EP also includes two tracks featuring Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Johnny Flaugher (bass) and keys man Rai Thistlethwate which turn out to be very welcome additions to the EP. ‘Locked Out’ is a real highlight as I'm a total sucker for that Allman Brothers influenced guitar sound, while the rhythmic ‘Fast Friends’ is equally impressive and does a great job of showcasing the range of Eli's songwriting. ‘Fast Friends’ finds Eli playing around with a nice selection of languid blues licks over a shuffling beat before the track picks up speed, goes off on a tangent, breaks down and then smoothly fades away, all in around three minutes.
The really good news is ‘Health and Fitness’ is but a taster for a full album due later this year. I really hope this is the case as Eli Wulfmeier definitely has something going on here and I’m very much looking forward to checking out whatever he delivers next. Fans of old-school 70s rock - or maybe you’re just discovering the likes of The Sheepdogs - should definitely check out Leroy From The North.
‘Health and Fitness is set for digital only release on August 2nd