Album Review:
Mixed Messages – Andrew Bayuk
By Renda Writer, Event Host, Promoter

As the host of several 'Open Mic Nights' throughout South Florida, I am always coming across talented musicians. On April 24th, 2006 I started a weekly open mic at Java D'Lites, a coffee shop in Coral Springs. This was also the night I first met a kind and humble acoustic singer/songwriter named Andrew Bayuk.

Andrew grabbed the crowd's attention, singing an original song with lyrics that spoke of intelligent opposition to the war in Iraq, suggesting that it is fueled by "Bullshit," which was also the song's catchy and appropriate title. He followed with a song called "Mixed Messages," an insightful song for those who have more questions than answers in their relationships.

At the end of his set, it sounded as if he said something like, "Thank you… My name is Andrew Bayuk. Hope you liked my music. I'll be back next Monday." But it was hard to make out his exact words because within seconds of finishing his last note the entire place was pulsing with applause that continued until he walked off stage.

I took this opportunity to walk over to talk to him. Our exchange of compliments and introductions was brief, but what stood out most to me was his assertion that he would come out to play every Monday night as part of what he labeled a personal 'regiment' to go along with his ongoing recording of his debut CD, "Mixed Messages."

Six months later, after roughly 24 more appearances at the open mic, Andrew walked into Java D'Lites and handed me a professionally packaged copy of "Mixed Messages," complete with 11 original songs. He told me that the 1,000 unit reproduction of the CD was paid for as a prize for his song "Footprints in the Snow" winning first place in the "Big Push Folk Competition" on – pretty impressive in my book. And as if this wasn't enough to pique my interest, he also revealed that he currently held the number two and three positions in the listing of the "Top 900 Songs of the Times" on Neil Young's "Living with War Today" website .

With all that being said, I couldn't wait to get home to listen to the CD. I slid it right into my car stereo after leaving the open mic and drove away to the sounds of the title track. By the time I got home, I had heard 11 honest and original songs that prove what a lifetime of devotion to your craft can produce - an opus that any musician would be proud to call his own.

But Andrew Bayuk is not just any musician. His versatility won't let him fit neatly into any one music genre. Although, he does hover closely over the "folk rock" category and creatively integrates varying influences such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and The Beatles into his own signature sound. "I've Seen" is a soft and mellow account of a full life that has no doubt inspired a need for poetic output. On "Losing Time," Bayuk gives us a Pink Floyd-esque pleasing and relaxing song that contains two solid verses separated by a guitar solo, each verse ending with a lyric that will make you say, "What did he just say?" And what did he say? You'll have to get a copy of the album to find out. The topics on the album include familiar ideas such as love, life, and politics, but Andrew is not at all afraid to cover new ground, as evidenced on "Weighing of the Heart," which is based on accounts of judgment after death recorded on ancient Egyptian scrolls. And "Shine On" is a fun, upbeat track that urges you to "stop what you are doing/ take a look around/ forget about your problems/ and shine on."

Strong talent, strong lyrics, and strong convictions make for a strong and moving CD. "Mixed Messages" belongs in everyone's CD collection and with the incredible buzz that Bayuk has established for himself on the internet, at his live performances, and by winning several contests it soon will be. But just be sure to leave room in that collection for his next CD too, which he is currently working on.


All Songs Copyright © 2006-2010 Andrew Bayuk