First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2001, Volume 8, #8
Written by John Metzger
Itís probably not a stretch to say that Leroy may be the next big thing. After all, his fate may have been decided well before the recent release of his self-titled debut. Five of the discís thirteen songs already have been featured in both television programs (The Job, Felicity) and movies (10 Things I Hate About You, Chain of Fools, Joy Ride, Driven), and heís currently traveling the country in support of Aerosmith.
But given the state of music these days, this isnít necessarily a bad thing. Unlike many of the artists whose songs are rammed down the throat of an unsuspecting public, Leroy has talent, and while his self-titled debut is far from a flawless affair, it is definitely a positive first step. The disc begins with the warm crackle and hiss of an old vinyl LP before veering off into a four-decade romp through soul, funk, rock, and R&B. Itís modern enough to appeal to todayís generation, yet retro enough to catch the ear of aging Baby Boomers.
At its core, Leroyís music ó and more specifically his guitar style ó draws from the blues-rock fury of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Upon this foundation, he builds a sound that incorporates a myriad of other elements into his songwriting framework by borrowing from the likes of Stevie Wonder, early Hall & Oates, Prince, Beck, Wings, Lenny Kravitz, World Party, Black Crowes, The Guess Who, and Macy Gray. Some of these experiments ó like the ebullient Away, the heady groove of The Way We Carry On, the infectious Over You, and the Moby-meets-metal Make It Hot ó work quite well, while others ó like the monotonous Devilís Daughter and Be My Lover ó are less successful and fall a bit flat. Nevertheless, itís hard to blame a guy with such a penchant for reexamining both rockís past and present.
The biggest challenge facing Leroy is, of course, how to continue to grow as an artist while still meeting the commercial demands that undoubtedly will befall him. It wonít be a simple journey, but itís one heís already begun to face head-on. With a little luck and a lot of determination, Leroy can take these experiences into the studio as he records his sophomore effort, and subsequently climbs to the next rung on the ladder of artistic creativity.
Leroy is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box