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Gary Dranow - Never Give Up (self-released)

7 March 2024

You can’t say that Gary Dranow’s work ethic is anything other than fully committed and wonderfully productive; it seems that a week doesn’t go by, sometimes less than that, without him offering a new track for me to put under the pen and wax lyrical about my findings.

Here, we find him in a more musically considered yet brilliantly inspirational mood and “Never Give Up” is one of those songs that reminds us that even though life can get tough, things don’t always go our way and sometimes the struggle seems too much, the only thing to do is to carry on and head for the light at the end of the tunnel. As Winston Churchill famously once said, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going.” “Never Give Up” is just that idea put into song. And what a great song it is.

Built around broader cascades of acoustic guitar, it leans slightly towards a folk sound, but the deft use of strands of bluesy, electric guitar and chiming motifs that run through and around and above and beyond this central sonic spine pull it back towards more rock realms. This tug-of-war between folky understatements and more ornate rock elements creates a beautiful balance of sounds that makes the song stand out from the pack.

Folk-rock has always been a tricky term. Either the sound of folkies trying to break into more mass-appeal realms or rockers trying to show their sensitive side. “Never Give Up” is folk rock as it should be (or folk blues, perhaps), not a compromise of sounds but the best of both worlds.