"His music is expansive, forlorn, introspective intimate and at all times irresistible. This debut album comes in fully formed with superb songwriting and inventive musical arrangements."
-Maverick Magazine (The UK's leading independent country music magazine)
"Best of 2011 for Los Angeles based Americana Music" Turnstyled, Junkpiled’s Los Angeles Americana Music Awards - editors picks, (Feb 13, 2012). READ MORE.
"Skyline Drive, headed by Derek Thomas, is everything you could come to expect from the dusty memoirs of an American songwriter. The album,Topanga Ranch Motel, ebbs and flows with a bittersweet carefulness and a sorrowful undercurrent that reaches back into the hopeful afterthoughts of youth for inspiration. It's what country music should and could be. Topanga Ranch Motel speaks more honestly than many popular country albums, and more humbly than a lot of southern rock ever could. READ MORE.
-Surviving the Golden Age
"Thomas’ voice has an element of grit that is perfectly suited to delivering his tales of hard lost relationships. The ten songs all feature the fine band led by Erik Kristiansen, whose pedal steel adds much to the overall sound and also gives it a country overtone. The songs are never forced and have a feel that gives their melancholic demeanour a depth and a listenability that shares their heartbreak in a positive way." READ MORE.
"His music soulful uplifting, forlorn, infectious and well crafted. Skyline Drive’s Topanga Ranch Motel may end up being one of those albums that you turn to a decade from now and remember the feeling it gave you over this late Summer, early Fall of 2012. It certainly has a timeless quality about it. The level of the songwriting again confirm why we already included Skyline Drive on our best of LA list with just a sampler Thomas put out last year.
-Turnstyled Junkipled (Gerry Gomez, Staff Writer) READ MORE.
"Derek is a very talented singer-songwriter."
-Elliot Mazer ( Producer-Neil Young, Jack Elliot Lightning Hopkins, Janis Joplin)
“SKYLINE DRIVE/Topanga Ranch Motel: “Mind blowing retro country rock/folk that takes you back to the day when you could have an FM hit that didn’t have to be a single and good vibes would be flowing in it’s wake. A great writer, front man/leader Derek Thomas finds the sweet spot Whiskeytown, Ryan Adams and the rest have been looking for. Thomas also finds the magic spot where you can do a bunch of down tempo songs without them being depressing..." READ MORE.
"I know I've said it before, but if Nashville would quit churning out pretty faced, no-talent, auto tuned hacks and look to the Indie/Alt country scene and groups like Skyline Drive, as a whole I think the country music industry would be in a much better place. "
-Americanaroots.com (Rusty Hogan)
"Thomas writes well and has a perfect wound voice. There are good lyrics here, not to mention it is pedalsteelen really evocative." READ MORE.
"Derek Thomas is an excellent songwriter, who knows how to tell a good story and who uses strong images. These are songs that pull us in and affect us emotionally"
-Michael Doherty's Music Blog
"Rootsy strumming, craggy singing, woe-is-me sentiments and the seriously sad pedal steel of Ryan Adams sideman Erik Kristiansen."
"Derek Thomas’ thoughtful, evocative lyrics and smoky vocals are at the forefront of the music with Kristiansen’s pedal steel weaving in and out of the stories created. Topanga Ranch Motel is the vehicle for this gifted singer-songwriter who promises to make his mark not only in California, but also on the music scene as a whole."
" These are very well thought out songs that sound absolutely great.""
-Malcolm Brun (Producer/engineer for Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois)
"Whether you need a stiff drink, some quiet time or a long drive through the Canyon, Skyline Drive’s "Topanga Ranch Motel" should be providing the soundtrack. It’s always interesting when music so sad sounds so good. Whether Derek Thomas was working through heartbreak or painting a wonderful narrative, Skyline Drive’s debut "Topanga Ranch Motel" is the audio equivalent of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Self-produced, recorded and mixed at Thomas’ cabin home in Topanga, the album is a wrenching, introspective look at love and loss. Recorded with a single microphone, the album has a tremendous live, acoustic feel as if Thomas is playing live at the bar that you chose to drown your sorrows in." READ MORE.