Room To Dream

Tom Wehrle

Espy Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Tom Wehrle knows his way around a melody.

That much is clear after a few listens to the young singer-songwriter's second full-length disc Room To Dream. Wehrle takes a page from John Mayer in his keen ear for a hook that will serve an introspective lyric well. While he often builds songs around his expressive piano work, this studio whiz also plays guitar and a variety of electronic keyboards on this self-produced disc.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Wehrle's primary instrument, though, is his rather delicate, airy voice (think Jeff Buckley), which he uses with equal effectiveness on surging pop-rock tunes ("Far Away") and earnest ballads ("I Will Be Your Friend"). The best song here -- "W/O You" -- shimmers as its piano, synth washes, horns and sunny vocals all mesh together into a deeply appealing whole, and suggests what Five For Fighting might sound like if Jon Ondrasik was modest and hungry instead of arrogant and bombastic.

Wehrle adds texture to the basic acoustic tracks here by filling out his arrangements with interesting electronic effects and loops. These are especially effective on cuts like the title track and the propulsive, very catchy "I've Fallen." "Just In Love With You" adds a bit of guitar crunch to the electronic textures and sunny melodies, creating a pop-rock confection that suggests Evan & Jaron's clean-cut melodicism.

A couple of these songs might be even more effective with some gentle trimming -- "Hold On Tonight" and "This Show's Over" don't gain much from their extended outros -- but this is a minor quibble.

Overall, Room To Dream showcases an artist with a distinctive voice and the talent to craft quality pop-rock tunes. Whether or not it proves to be the breakthrough Wehrle is reaching for, it's a strong disc that displays great promise and is well worth a spin.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Espy Records, and is used for informational purposes only.