Singer-songwriter/musician Ted Wulfers is prepping to drop a new platter on July 12. It’s titled, Tremolo Moon. But first, for those not up on their indie artists, a bit o’ background.
Wulfers is a Los Angeles-California-based multiinstrumentalist and producer. His music has been featured on both radio and television. According to his website he has even “scored and performed soundtracks for” various video games and motion pictures in the jazz and classical genres. At the age of three, he was classically trained on the piano.
He is self-taught on banjo, bass, cello, dobro, drums, guitar, harmonica, lap steel, mandolin, organ, pedal steel, and ukulele. His rockin’ resume includes eight albums (six as a solo act and a couple with his 1990s group, Beggar’s Bridge). His signature sound is a musical mélange of what he refers to as “Heartland rock, Stadium pop, Stonesy swagger, California cool, and Texas twang.” It also includes touches of Americana, ukulele music, blues, and alt-country.
Tremolo Moon reveals both his musical tastes and some of his obvious influences and sources of inspiration. They include Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Dire Straits, The Grateful Dead, and The Allmans. On this album, Wulfers leads the way on electric guitar and acoustic guitar, bass, and vocals.
On certain other tracks, Wulfers also adds pedal steel, lap steel, drums, marimba, piano, Hammond organ, mellotron, synthesizer, harmonica, cello, and other percussion. He is occasionally backed by an assortment of other artists including Rob Humphreys (drums and percussion), Carl Byron (accordion, clavinet, and Hammond organ), Zak St. John (bongos and drums), Quentin Purviance (drums and percussion), Paulie Cerra (tenor saxophone), Chad Willis, Ludovic Louis and Javier Gonzalez (trumpet), Allie Stamler and Kaitlin Wolfberg (violins), Andrew Lippman (trombone), Scott Mayo (tenor and baritone saxophone), and Gia Clambotti, Katie Ferrara, Olivia Brownlee, and Tarra Layne (backing vocals).
Track by track
This 12-track album of all original material opens on “The Ghosts.” This is a calm but aptly ethereal album opener. The second selection is the jazzy “Fall In Love.” It comes complete with an exceptional, effective horn arrangement by Andrew Lippman and Wulfers.
Wulfers changes things up a bit on “Summertime Festival Girl.” It is still, however, classic Wulfers especially considering the chosen subject. (Who doesn’t like music, summer, and girls, right?)
The fun and nigh poignant standout “1980s Movie (John Hughes)” is reminiscent of ELO and (duh) 1980s film soundtrack material. Both the story and the music are perfect to take you back to that decade and Hughes’ classic films.
“World I Knew” follows. Things quiet down again here with this nice slow dance song. It even has the added plus of putting a focus on prioritizing in one’s life.
“Fleur De Lis” is a smoky, bluesy track that just works. It’s even TV/movie-ready. It’s that simple.
“Thoughts And Prayers” makes a social statement without being too political. (Some of us have had enough of that so this is especially good!)
“Desert Driver” is an instrumental has its own apropos added musical elements that give it its own identity. Plus, it sounds like it was one to record, too. Also included here is “Anna, Queen Of Bruges” which sounds like an imaginative bit of historical fiction that probably has an interesting origin yet to be discovered.
Not to be confused with Kate Bush’s 1994 titular single of the same name, this new “Red Shoes” is a jammin’, upbeat original by Wulfers. “Sego Canyon” keeps things moving as Wulfers’ signature sound remains consistent and the overall performances herein remain solid too. “Die In My Sleep” is another slow ballad with just enough edge to make it interesting. It also works quite well as the closing cut.
Overall, this is the newest example of Wulfers’ abilities as both a songwriter and a performer. The material here is, for the most part, timeless, emotional and sometimes mellow. Each song is an individualistic result of his love of music. So check out Ted Wulfers’ Tremolo Moon and you just might “Fall In Love.”