By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published May 18, 2006 at 5:04 AM

Milwaukee band Thomas Lane hopes to be celebrating after Monday's Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards at Potawatomi's Northern Lights Theater.

After being in the Milwaukee music scene for a relatively short time, the four WAMI nominations has the band -- comprised of Derek Wroble (vocals, guitar), David Burleton (vocals, guitar), Ben Estes (guitar), Frank Babeck (drummer) and Mike Moss (bassist) -- feeling excited yet thankful.

"The WAMI awards are an opportunity for members in the statewide organization to recognize people in all aspects of the music industry in Wisconsin," says Wrobel. "Being a relatively new band, we are extremely excited to be nominated. We have put hundreds of hours of work into the band, and having those involved in WAMI recognize that is a great feeling."

Thomas Lane has been nominated for two group awards, New Artist of the Year and Pop Artist of the Year, as well as two individual awards, Drummer of the Year and Bassist of the Year.

"We've made it a point to get involved in the music community in Milwaukee, and have worked hard to get people to listen to our music," Wrobel says. "Being an original band in Milwaukee has its challenges, but it's nice to see so many people supporting Thomas Lane."

Since forming in the spring of 2005, the band has now recorded its debut album "Something to Hold On To." Wrobel says that many of the songs that made it onto the album were reinvented from songs he and Burleton wrote prior to Thomas Lane's inception.

"Everyone in the band comes from diverse musical backgrounds, and I think this record captures those diverse influences," Wrobel says. "It was great to see everyone involved in the project add their ideas."

Thomas Lane's sound blends a mixture of genres, but Wrobel says that the music's foundation is "the lyrics and melody, and we build on top of that to create songs that fall into the general category of pop/rock."

The band's sounds reflects a mixture of bands like the Goo Goo Dolls, Keane, Incubus and Matchbox 20. Thomas Lane carves out its own sound with chords that'll suck listeners in as soon as a song begins.

Along with being nominated, Thomas Lane will be hitting the stage to perform some of its songs Monday night, which could possibly bring in a few more fans.

"We think people will find something in the band that they can relate to. We try to capture moments in time, feelings that we've had, and convey those emotions through our music in a way that is honest and sincere. We think people connect with that, both on the album and during our live show," Wrobel says.

The 26th Annual WAMI Awards Show is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $40. Awards will be handed out in 36 categories. There will be performances by Cache, Ill Grove Movement, Alaria Taylor, the Cool Waters Band, Twang Dragons and more. More information can be found at WAMI's Web site:

Thomas Lane's Web site is and its myspace is


Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.