“Buzzin’ Fly” Single by (Steve) Yardin

No matter how we’re to break apart and examine the lyricism in Tim Buckley’s one-of-a-kind track “Buzzin’ Fly,” there’s an undeniable sense of emotion everywhere we look and listen in the song. In his vibrant version out this winter season, singer/songwriter Yardan and a handful of carefully chosen guest players team for an exploration of the themes and aesthetical narrative in this composition unlike any I’ve experienced in the past, and while I’ve always been a little biased towards endorsing covers as debut material, this is one case where I find myself making a major exception to the rule. 

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The striking melodic underpinning in this arrangement is one of the first elements that grabbed me here, especially with regards to the vocal harmonies constructed between Yardan and the lovely Tamika Tyan, whose gospel-style crooning adds a layer to this performance that wouldn’t have been here otherwise. There’s obviously a lot of potency to the foundation provided by the instrumentation in this single, but it’s impossible to debate which of all the elements in the mix was meant to convey the heaviest passion in the song. It starts and ends with lyrical prowess here, and these two have quite a bit of it. 

This mastering is really sharp but not overdone, which has been something I’ve been encountering more and more of when looking at indie singer/songwriters over the course of the last year. There’s nothing particularly overthought nor obviously structured with a sense of indulgence in mind here, and in comparison to what some of the other popular folk crossover artists have been toying with, I think it’s really obvious that Yardan is someone who wants to stick with an organic sound even after he’s acquired an audience he can call his own (and mean it). 

“Buzzin’ Fly” benefits tremendously from the balance of the string play here, centering, of course, on the tremendous presence of one Andrew Hendryx and his mandolin. There’s plenty of pleasant glowing to the harmonies between the other instruments, but I personally found the mandolin to be the most commanding element of anything on the non-vocal half of this single, which is saying quite a bit when taking into account how much the sax or even the bass parts in the background have to contribute to the bigger picture in this track. 

I’ve been hearing some good things about Yardan from others who keep up with his scene in recent times, but I was definitely not expecting to be as impressed by this cover of Tim Buckley as I am at the moment. To me, “Buzzin’ Fly” is a nice introduction, but it’s meant to advertise possibilities more than anything else. Time will help this singer/songwriter grow into his sound a little more completely, but anyone who would have the nerve to suggest that he’s not ready – and able – to compete with some of the loudest and most intriguing voices in or outside of his scene right now hasn’t heard his rookie single. 

Michael Rand

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