Todd Fulmer and The Lone Wolfe
Todd Fulmer and Kimberly Wolfe, better known on the River Region music scene as Todd Fulmer and the Lone Wolfe, are bringing a fusion of two vastly different styles together to create something unlike any other act in the area. With influences of jazz, rock, country and more, all wrapped in a classically trained package, their music transcends the lines of genre while keeping their deeply rooted faith at the forefront of everything they do.
Fulmer, a Fort Worth, Texas native, got his start in music at an early age of five as a pastor’s child singing in church. Shortly thereafter, his family relocated to the Montgomery area to become an active part of the youth ministries at Eastern Hill Baptist Church. “I continued singing throughout my childhood and when I was 16, decided to pick up the guitar for the first time,” he says. From there he began writing his own music and started several rock bands, not yet knowing where his musical path might lead him.
In 2004, Fulmer began leading worship at First Baptist of Opelika and said that it allowed his confidence in front of a crowd to grow. “In the bands I had played in before, we performed indie and alternative rock. With the music ministry, it allowed me to reconnect to my hymnal roots and incorporate my soulful influences like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and James Brown. I guess I’d consider myself a little bit of a ‘Heinz 57’ artist… I’m a little bit of everything,” Fulmer says.
In stark contrast to the rock and soul roots of his music, Wolfe’s musical style emerged from classical training as a violinist and pianist, thanks to her musical parents. “My mother was a classically trained pianist and her father played guitar. I followed in her footsteps at the age of five. Voice lessons followed at 13, and I began studying opera,” she says. Her opera studies continued at Tanglewood Institute at Boston University, where she also discovered her love for jazz. “My influences were Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and I was able to create a fusion of opera and jazz in my style,” Wolfe explains.
Wolfe went on to say that her Uncle Tommy, who was also a fiddle player, turned her on to the likes of Hank Williams and classic country and ‘gypsy jazz,’ which ultimately influenced her to move to Nashville. “I had some people who were in the music industry who invited me to do some studio work, and I found that I really liked the business side and the behind-the-scenes of the music world.”
Upon returning to Montgomery, Wolfe performed in a jazz duo around town with fellow jazz musician, Pedro Louis Mayer. Credited to her experience in Nashville, she soon became the Executive Director of the Montgomery Symphony, putting her own performance career on the back burner to further the ambition of others.
Fate, and a mutual friend, brought the now best friend duo together at Cloverjam in Cloverdale Park. “They thought we’d be a great musical pair despite our different sounds, so we got together and our music blended together so well. We come from such different backgrounds, but it made for an interesting combination,” says the duo.
Fulmer expresses that their connection and communication as friends is evident in their music, and although they write songs individually, they are huge supporters of one another’s music and strive to incorporate both of their work into their sets. The two are finalists in the upcoming singer/songwriter competition at The Sanctuary on November 17th at 6 pm. “We did Todd’s songs in the first round, and we are going to do my songs in the finals. It’s the first time we will be putting my songs out there, so I’m very excited,” Wolfe says. “It’s a great platform for us and for our music to be heard,” adds Fulmer.
The Sanctuary Showdown was open to all singer/songwriters with the judges pick and the crowd favorite advancing from each preliminary round. Each slot consisted of a fifteen minute set in an acoustic “unplugged” style. The grand prize that Fulmer and Wolfe hope to claim in the finals is studio recording time at Technical Earth Recorders.
Fulmer says that his cousin works as a record producer in Nashville and has encouraged him to record music on his own over the last several months, but Wolfe believes his talent needs to be taken to the next level. “I really want him to record an official album by this time next year. This studio time will be a perfect push in that direction,” she explains.
Fulmer intends to focus on the performance aspect of his music, while Wolfe hopes to pursue more demo and studio work when not working together as Todd Fulmer and the Lone Wolfe.
She’s happy to see groups like The Highwomen, made up of Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby, who are taking the music scene by storm and showcasing empowered, classically trained female musicians in mainstream music. She hopes to promote the same positivity here in the Montgomery area.
Fulmer will soon be taking a music ministry position with Legacy Anglican in Montgomery for the next six months and intends on continuing to write songs and perform with the duo.
The two say what keeps them focused is their blessings from God, and they are thankful for the gift of music and being able to tell a story that touches others in a matter of just a few minutes. “If you can tell a compelling story in a song that hits someone in a special way, that is a true gift. Says Fulmer, “we are doing our best to give a part of ourselves to others through our music, and we just hope people like it.”