If you follow independent pop music out of the southeastern United States, you’re probably already aware of an artist by the name of Rob Alexander, an MD by day and a soft rock balladist by night, whose work has been generating a lot of critical adulation in the past couple of years. Alexander’s latest album, Being Myself, is getting an even warmer reception than his previous release, Long Road Coming Home, did, and a big part of that reception is likely because of the record’s leadoff single “Never Gonna Let You Go,” a track that on its own justifies a closer look into this songwriter’s incredible craftsmanship as a performer.
Being Myself is a really balladic LP from start to finish, and in some ways, “Never Gonna Let You Go” does an overwhelmingly good job at encapsulating its entire identity in a single song. Rob Alexander enters the fold with a humble vocal that grows into a fierce force to be reckoned with by the time we reach the first chorus, and despite the ebbing of the instrumentation, his lyrics are consistently the creator of catharsis in this track. It’s a formula repeated throughout the album, though it’s never replicated in the form we find it in here.
The sax parts in “Never Gonna Let You Go” add a great accentuation to the ascent into (and out of) the chorus, and I found that it’s in subtle intricacies like these that Alexander exudes the most emotion in the track. The instrumental melodies lend agency to his every verse, but within the tiniest of corners in the arrangement, there are hidden clues to the deeper narrative that he’s trying to convey to us here. He’s always been an awesome poet, but the duality he displays as an artist in this single is really remarkable, even by Rob Alexander standards.
I would love to hear this composition live. It’s got terrific jam potential and could easily be extended into a medley with some of the other songs on the tracklist of Being Myself, which as an LP has a slight progressive vibe that never quite devolves into the typical pomp and grandeur that usually come with a traditional concept album’s contents. The versatility of the music in “Never Gonna Let You Go” is just as important a feature as Alexander’s own singing is, and if you’ve heard this guy’s work in the past, you know how big of a deal something like that really is.
Try as you might, you’d be hard-pressed to find another pop song left of the dial quite like “Never Gonna Let You Go” this November. Its raw emotionality, cordial crooning and heart-melting harmonies stand up well to almost anything topping the charts right now, and even if it isn’t doused in the commercial varnish that a lot of pop music is (especially in this current climate for the genre), it doesn’t need that sort of lacquering to shine as bright as a diamond. I recommend giving this single a spin through those chilly months ahead, because it’s absolutely one of the warmer releases out now on the American indie spectrum.