Wish

New York-based singer/songwriter Paul Ruderman brings a refreshing brightness back to an industry consumed with dark, anti-melodic music.

New York-based singer/songwriter Paul Ruderman brings a refreshing brightness back to an industry consumed with dark, anti-melodic music. At times rousing and anthemic, Ruderman's material brings to mind Hootie & the Blowfish in their heyday, and his voice—both earthbound and ethereal—is vaguely reminiscent of Dave Matthews'. But Ruderman's most compelling and original quality is his writing style. His songs are instantly catchy—almost deceptively simple—but they reveal deep layers of musical and lyrical complexity with each listen. Highlights of this sparkling debut are the irresistible title track, the touching "Part of My Soul," the rollicking "A Lot Like You," and the gorgeous love poem "Jacquie's Song." Ruderman is an artist who is ready for the success that this album ought to deliver.—PV