Born in 1969, East Coast singer/songwriter Paul Ruderman is a member of the post-Baby Boomer generation. But the artists who did the most to shape his musical personality and vision are not the stereotypical Gen-X alternative rockers; Ruderman's primary influences are icons of the Baby Boomer generation, and they range from Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, and Jackson Browne to the Beatles and John Lennon's early-'70s post-Beatles solo output. Ruderman has also been compared to soft rocker James Taylor, another Baby Boomer favorite. The singer/songwriter is essentially a folk-rocker, although some of his material is pop/rock; and whether one of his songs is folk-rock or pop/rock, he always brings a knack for accessible, hooky, easy-to-hum melodies to the table.
Ruderman was born on January 6, 1969, in Nanuet, NY, a small town that is about an hour north of New York City. He grew up listening to the abovementioned artists, and in 1986, a 17-year-old Ruderman moved to Boston to attend Tufts University (where he majored in psychology). It didn't take him long to start playing the Boston club and coffeehouse scene; the Boston area is full of colleges, and places that are full of colleges often have a way of attracting a lot of singer/songwriters. Ruderman found that Boston and its suburbs (Cambridge and Somerville, among others) offered a lot of places for him to perform, but he also found the Boston scene to be quite competitive. However, he didn't find Boston to be as competitive as the next city he lived in: New York. Ruderman moved to the Big Apple in 1990, and his willingness to be an aggressive self-promoter resulted in a lot of gigs at well-known Manhattan clubs like the Mercury Lounge and Fez. Many of his gigs were in and around Greenwich Village, a section of Lower Manhattan that, like Boston and its suburbs, has long been a magnet for singer/songwriters. After building a small following in the '90s, Ruderman was signed by the Atlantic-distributed Q Records in the early 2000s. His debut album, Wish, was produced by Ed Tuton and came out in August 2001.