Prior to relocating to Knoxville, co-founding Black Eyed Soul singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Marcus, already had established himself as a sought-out collaborator and producer — with a cast of acclaimed rock star locals clamoring at his Space Coast home recording studio. And it was no surprise. Along with Andrew’s longtime creative partner, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Misty Marcus, the duo had been woven into the fabric of the Sunshine State indie music scene through the late-‘90s and into the new millennium — releasing a slew of full-length sets and landing on an array of Florida compilations, as well as making frequent TV/radio appearances and East Coast tour treks. However, by 2012, it was time for a change of venue — a new environment even more embracing of their Americana style. So, Tennessee it was.
In 2020, Black Eyed Soul is back in action with, YES, their first new slab since Season of Self-Loathing in 2017. In a recent v13 interview, Andrew beamed about the duo’s new record. “YES is a total DIY effort,” he revealed. “It’s just us two — no session players, no engineers, no producers, no managers, and no outside opinions or distractions. It’s just Black Eyed Soul in our purest form ever.”
Possessing a distinctive, more guitar-driven edge, YES packs an attitude that was noticeably more restrained on the six previous Black Eyed Soul efforts — landing at a stylistic destination somewhere near the intersection of “American Girl” Avenue and “November Nights” Boulevard. The opening track, “Twilight of My Life,” finds Andrew and Misty residing in their rootsy comfort zone. Conversely, “Love & Acceptance” is an explosive cocktail of guitar swagger, keyboard splendor and vocal sass.
“The title of the album is a statement of triumph,” Andrew confessed. “We are in such a far more positive place spiritually, mentally and artistically now. And our writing style has a new dimension and dynamic layer.” However, the “proof,” as they say, is “in the pudding.” Of the record’s many highlights, the wah-wah-soaked “Don’t Waste Time” and the bouncy “Dumb it Down” feel springtime fresh, while the transparent “Trying Not to Fight” and the Gospel-flavored “Make it Through the Day” are classic Black Eyed Soul. Yet, the crisp and catchy “Let’s Break Up” and the warm and fuzzy “This Life” reach across both sides of the fence.
Reflecting on where the duo has arrived in 2020, Andrew added, “Healthy living is our priority these days — hiking and letting the mountains speak to our souls while living in this paradise.” And that sense of enthusiasm comes across loud and clear with the record’s closing combo, “Little Too Late” and “Saturn Returns” — an urgent double-whammy that provides a backside-blistering yin to a melodic soul-kissing yang.
In sum, YES is a solid effort — easily one of the strongest records of the impressive 20+ year Black Eyed Soul story.
YES Track Listing:
1. Twilight of My Life (3:30)
2. Love & Acceptance (2:36)
3. Don’t Waste Away (4:39)
4. Dumb it Down (2:47)
5. Trying Not to Fight (2:33)
6. Let’s Break Up (3:39)
7. Make it Through the Day (5:59)
8. This Life (3:30)
9. Anytime Will Do (3:12)
10. Disenchanted Pageant Queen (5:00)
11. Little Too Late (3:47)
12. Saturn Returns (3:23)
Run Time: 44:45
Record Label: Self-Release
Release Date: November 1, 2020