Will Varley is a folk singer, impelled by an awareness of politics and culture. He uses references that the everyday citizen can identify with. Because he takes material from the lives of you and me, his lyrics have a tangibility. It is the dirty bath water after a day of working an unfulfilling job. The fag butts, quaver crisp packets, the two p's we put in charity pots, at the counter in Spar shops. The half glass of wine, chilling in a mostly empty bottle, in the door of the fridge – just in case. Brewed with grit, comedy and compassion, he ignites our attention. Moves the thoughts that filter away to sediment, through the necessity to just get on with it. He says no! These things are important.
He gives confidence that our worries and questions about humanity are valid, we should address them, instead of burying them. Instead of being 'well behaved consumers with no questions and no care'. His music is a reminder that we all have a responsibility for each other’s welfare. He empowers us – shredding the belief that 'you can't ask questions if you don't have the answers.' He addresses the morality behind the prosperity of privileged societies. Will Varley is a hero, he is an innovator, an everyday man. He is brave, he is Robin Hood, he is a man that was a child, muted by the indoctrination of education. ‘They got you in school, where just asking questions is breaking the rules.’
He is a drinker, a thinker, a rambler and a friend. His songs are hope, they are heartbreak. They are laughter, sympathy, knowledge. They are relevant, they are unique. Singing of his own father deterring him from singing about politics 'He rather be blind than to see he's never been free.' He says it is ok to not have answers. ‘I don’t know what I’ve been looking for yet and I doubt that I’ll ever understand.’ We are mere humans, we get confused, we change and we make mistakes. But we should not be ignorant or silent. ‘They’ve found ways of controlling the masses, from the sides of busses and TV screens. The bombs start dropping when religion clashes.’
Will Varley – the man from the moon that came tumbling. He pulls the sea away from our body, like the comfort of bed sheets on a winter’s night. Uncovering the cold reality of life which we combat ourselves against. He sees with moon man eyes, agape and hurt. He doesn’t have a hidden agenda. He sings of what he sees, with first man from the moon to walk on the earth sincerity. Spoken word that is so rich, it seems to naturally turn to song. He twills his soft cotton thoughts with Z twist honesty, so they are strong as denim. Pumice stone song buffs the pointy edges of our television square eyes and letter box lips. We are the pen pals that he sends volcanic glass letters, about this planet to.
His conversational tone is ferly and rough. He’s a rambler, using objects found on a recce to write his songs. They are made from bracken and brambles, accents, pebbles and scoundrels. They are written from pub conversations, observations from a public bus, the thoughts we have after watching a Stacey Dooley documentary. He skilfully plays with dramatic pauses, he laughs at his own jokes and plays in public walkways, woods and to swans. We recognise our life in Will Varley’s music.
‘Little Bo-Peep could be knocked up at fourteen, addicted to vodka and ketamine and if she lost her sheep she wouldn’t give a shit, as long as she got home in time to watch Skins.’
There is a rustic collectiveness to his lyrics because he sings about things that affect us, we are the characters in his songs. His songs are a floral bouquet of goose grass, hay, forget-me-nots, butterfly weeds, blazing stars, blue flax, black eyed Susan’s, mountain phlox, evening primrose, pale cornflower, morning glory, Johnny jump up and Mexican hat. He sings about the things that have stuck with him, that feel crucial.
‘We should give back all the oceans and the islands and the sky, because they don’t belong to any man and no man has the right, to tell another human being that their access is denied to any corner of this planet.’
He presents us with the wild flowers and weeds that are not usually picked for commercial selling, we need to pay these attention.
‘As for the edges of these oceans so deep, I say open the gates, this land is not ours to keep, because borders they are nothing except a fence around a hole where the thieves keep all of the jewels that they stole, and the walls of Westminster they are painted with blood and they shine with the souls of the slaves that we robbed.’
The natural, uncultivated species – that represent the majority. Those treated unequally, they remind us of the importance of freedom.