After the release of five knockout singles so far this year, Washington-state based Lowdown Drifters couldn’t let 2020 end without getting one more under their belt; their latest release has the added bonus of featuring another one of our favorite singer/songwriters – Texas’s Dalton Domino. Engineered by Brad Prakope and mastered by Nathan Allen, “Give Up On The Dream” has a gorgeous, sweeping melody that blends notes of sorrow, yearning, and resolve to form a rich musical backdrop for exploring the sacrifices it takes to chase down an aspiration.
One of the song’s highlights is undoubtedly the opposition between the two singers. Cannon’s deep, grungy vocals play off the bright and earnest tones in Domino’s voice, bringing to life the contrast between light and dark – or desperation and hope – that’s woven throughout the lyrics: “the things I’ve always loved, I can’t deny they’re killing me/ but I just can’t seem to give up on the dream.” Domino was a natural fit for the song, according to songwriter and guitar player Ryan Klein. “We first met Dalton playing a few shows with him in Washington and Oregon and had already been a fan of his songwriting for years. He is a master at taking complex emotions and concisely and elaborately turning a phrase that somehow puts more information in a 3 minute song than most novels. When we began working on Give Up on the Dream, I felt like he was the perfect person to accompany John on it, from his musical and personal journey to the way that he approaches music.”
For Klein, the story in the song comes from a familiar place. “This was a song that actually changed quite a bit from when I started to the finished product. It initially came out of a conversation I had with my wife where she was talking about how we used to go to concerts together and now with us playing most weekends we don’t have that opportunity. I said basically it would be easier if I didn’t care about playing music and I didn’t want to write songs and I didn’t want to chase this dream…but I do. All of the crazy nights making no money, driving from city to city and crashing at a motel with way too many people piled into 2 queen sized beds somehow has this allure because it feels like progress and it feels like paying the dues to even be able to have a dream of being bigger someday.”
From beginning to end, “Give Up On The Dream” is imbued with a powerful sense of longing. While Cannon and Domino’s vocal interplay deserves some of that credit – as does Klein’s lyricism – the rest goes to the killer team of artists the Drifters assembled for this release. Bobby Gardner’s graceful pedal steel acts as a foil to the winding harmonica that opens the track, courtesy of Tim Allen (who also produced it) and Ian Jones. Matt Trimble’s drums keep a steady pace as Klein, Josh Serrato, and Tim Allen frame the verses with their guitars, and Drew Harakal’s keys and Ben Hussey’s bass complete the project.
Stacie Hestand – Raised Rowdy Contributor