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Gary Dranow - Bedroom Mentor (self-released)

28 January 2024

I’m starting to get a grip on Gary Dranow’s musical modus operandi now. After writing about him throughout four singles, I can see him for what he is. To me, he is an artist who has a core, established sound, one that he calls home and is happy to return to with regularity, but this is matched only by his desire to explore the musical landscape far and wide, a hunger to know what is over the next creative hill, a desire to write a new chapter in his own musical story. And that is something that is both rare and to be admired.

For every heavy blues-rocker that he puts out, such as “Destiny Road” or “I’m A Man,” he can be found exploring beyond that more established ground, with tracks such as “Digitize” and particularly his latest release single, “Bedroom Mentor.”

Here, we see him pushing forward into almost metallic realms, raw, abrasive, knife-edge guitars cut a swath driven onwards by pounding beats and depth-charge bass lines. It is the sound of alternative rock looking for, and indeed creating, its own future. But, as soon as you get used to this new, incendiary version of Dranow, he throws in a gorgeously emotive and understated acoustic interlude before continuing with the incendiary salvos, just to remind you that he is not to be second -guessed.

It’s a song that plays with fantastic dynamics, from lulling lows to searing highs, rhythmic relentlessness to stacatto, on/off structures, rock and roll directness and progressive rock experimentation. It’s all there.

We need more Gary Dranows in the world, more people willing to move away from their comfort zones and really embrace the sound of music as it heads forward, not just embrace it, but create new openings and opportunities for it. We live in a world obsessed with the sound of its past. While Gary is more than capable of delivering such familiar sounds, he is also one of the people helping to shape the future. And “Bedroom Mentor” is the sound of him doing just that.