Given his popularity in his native Canada and his success as a songwriter for others (Santana, Bette Midler, America and Manfred Mann), it’s somewhat surprising that Ian Thomas isn’t better known in the U.S. His sole domestic chart entry, “Painted Ladies,” dates back some 40 years, making Little Dreams seem more like a new introduction rather than a belated return. In that case, Thomas creates a sterling first impression.
Touched with his usual optimism, Little Dreams features bubbly love songs like “Waiting for the Sunrise” and “After All These Years,” each flush with rich, radio-ready arrangements that achieve pure pop perfection.
Thomas and co-producer Peter Cardinali also take pains to vary the template. The low-lit euphoria of “Fear of Falling”—a spin-off of sorts on John Lennon’s “Imagine” (“If there was no heaven/No one would get burned”), the Sting-esque “What a Day to Fall in Love” and the stirring “Waiting for the Sunrise” exude heartfelt sentiment that elevates the album to a loftier plain.
After all these years, Thomas’ music remains effortlessly alluring. Hopefully, Little Dreams will be a wake-up call to the uninitiated.
– Lee Zimmerman