It was one of those unexpected winter nights in Orlando where it was actually cold. I was at a party, and due to the frigid air, no one was outside watching the lone musician passionately singing and playing his guitar to a meager crowd. The guy in the suit was Drew Yardis, and he was working his ass off while all of the party-goers were inside enjoying the heat. I was impressed by his passion, and loved his very unique voice. He told me that night that his new album was on the way. Finally, it hits the streets on the 15th, and it’s a nice effort.
Yardis has been playing around Orlando for the past ten years in various incarnations, and now he’s back, fronting his new band, The Drew Yardis Project. He’s got an impressive and versatile voice and is an accomplished guitarist. He’s put together a good band of fellow Orlando music veterans, including Shane Smith on guitar, Dave Plakon on bass and drummer Austin Smith.
The musicians sound great, and Yardis’ voice is great, particularly while hitting the higher notes. I found the album a bit heavy with slower paced songs. They do a nice job highlighting the range of his voice, and generally excellent guitar and bass work, but there’s a lot of slower tracks. Of these tunes, I felt that “Bright Child” and “Do What You Do” were the best, with the latter featuring beautiful vocals.
My favorite cuts on the album were generally the more fast-paced tracks. “Liberty” is a bitter look at today’s state of world affairs. The guitars are excellent, and we get to see a different side to Yardis’ vocals. The chorus is one of the more memorable on the album, and Austin Smith’s powerful drums carry the song throughout. An excellent track.
Other highlights on the album include “Fallout” which features some fun funk-driven guitar riffs and “Human Heart” which will remind you in a good way of some of Jason Mraz’s best stuff. It’s excellent, and probably the one song on the album song with the most commercial appeal.
All told, it’s a nice debut album from a talented group of musicians. Definitely worth a listen.
Check out the band’s upcoming shows at: DrewYardis.com