While he possesses enough chops to get these songs across, Ernie Halter has found a haven on MySpace with tour van cameras and live shows. And it’s these songs that revolve around said shows, bringing to mind popsters like Daniel Powter, Jack Johnson, and Jason Mraz with sugar-coated, radio-friendly tunes like the soul-tinted “One You Need”, the equally appealing “Into This Life” and the rockier “Love, Look At Me Now”. However it’s a rather slippery slope between that and a tune like “Melissa” that is soulful but still lackluster. It would fit much better later down the track listing. “Lisa” doesn’t fare all that much better, a very barren song that should have an obvious Latin touch, and does, but still doesn’t quite come together. Meanwhile, “Whisper” is a better effort, as Halter harkens back to an old-school era doo wop flavoring. Perhaps the highlight of Congress Hotel is the simple folksy “Love in L.A.”, which contains a great melody. The same can be said of “Something’s Come Over Me”, which is a track John Mayer would arm wrestle for.
// Notes from the Road
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