.Radiant: 21st Century Troubadour – Will Varley
After 140 miles of traveling, Will Varley is ready for his second album “As the Crow Flies”, sharing the stories from his journeys and adventures with his ever-growing fanbase. Lovers of British folk music won’t regret listening to his brand new songs, especially “When You’re Gone” (music video featured below), which is – in .Cent’s eyes (and ears) – truly radiant.
Starting at London Bridge, the 26 year old singer set out on his journey and gave everyone on his way the opportunity to listen to his tunes and became a 21st century troubadour. To get to know him better and get an intimate aspect of his travels .Cent prepared some unique questions for Will.
.Cent: You went on a journey after releasing your debut album “Advert Soundtracks” – Is there a specific reason why you wanted to walk those 140 miles or was it pure instinct? Would you recommend other singers to set out for a while?
Will: I couldn’t afford the petrol. No, I think people used to tour on foot all the time, minstrels and troubadours and what not would come through the towns and rely on the goodwill of the people they met to survive and in return they would tell stories and sing songs. I think a lot of the old folk songs came about from this kind of travelling lifestyle. I decided I’d like to do a walking tour when I was riding on the train one afternoon on the way to a gig. I realised I was passing by so many towns and villages, and I thought it would be great to travel and see everything properly, and meet everyone you passed instead of just hurtling by on a train. Yes I’d definitely recommend it, but make sure you have the right shoes.
.Cent: On your new album you share your stories with your fans (and future fans) that you experienced while traveling. Do you see this as a switch (or a break) from your politically charged debut album or is just another side of your music?
Will: I like to respond to every aspect of the world around me when I’m writing songs. So sometimes I write songs about my own very personal experiences and sometimes I write about things that I read about in a book or saw in a film or certain things that are concerning me in the newspaper. There is actually a lot of politics in the new album, it’s just delivered in a slightly different way. I think you’d have to be crazy to be a songwriter and not make some kind of comment about the injustices of our era. I think it’s only in the last twenty years that modern media culture has made songwriters afraid of politicising their work.
.Cent: As you state on your website, “As the Crow Flies” is a darker and more mature side of your music – yet still you manage to put in your personal humor. Would you say this witty and humorous side should be included more often nowadays – especially with such a wide range of musicians, who sing about the miseries and sad sides of life.
Will: I think there is always room for laughter, even when your discussing the most serious of subjects. I think people can easily get bored of the same thing so with my records I try to include a little bit of everything. I would never want to make a record that never made anyone smile, just like I’d never want to make a record that never made anyone think. Probably because most mainstream music is so whimsical these days, there is an expectation for genres like folk music to be very serious and intense. If you look at folk songs through the ages though, there has always been funny bits and sad bits.
.Cent: Can you share your most exciting experience from your journey with us? If yes, is it somehow reflected on your new album?
Will: I did quite a lot of wild camping which is always an exciting thing to do. One night I’d just gone to bed and I started hearing noises outside the tent. I was in the middle of nowhere at this point, next to the old military canal that runs all the way from Hastings to Hythe with nothing but fields in all directions. I lay there awake all night with this rustling and footsteps going on the whole time and when it started getting light I finally plucked up the courage to have a look. There was about fourty sheep all standing in a mob facing the door of the tent. I was pretty relieved really, sheep are relatively friendly animals. There’s a lyric in ‘Until The Grass Gets Greener’ that mentions the lambs, in some ways that song is about the walk and wanting to get home.
.Cent: Lastly, what are your plans for the future? Any further traveling planned?
Will: Well the album is coming out in September and I’m doing an album launch at The Rosemary Branch Theatre on September 7th. Then I’m heading out on a big tour, though travelling by train this time, to promote the album. In October I’m joining the brilliant Beans On Toast on part of his upcoming UK tour, which I’m very much looking forward to. I’d love to do some more walking soon though, perhaps through Europe or The Middle East. I think it would be amazing to walk through some different countries, and to not know exactly where I was heading.
Check out the video to “When You’re Gone” by Will Varley:
Will is not only a talented musician but also a writer and filmmaker. Afore music video was directed by Will himself and self-published his first novel last winter. For those curious about his debut album “Advert Soundtrack” (2011), the great collection of songs can be purchased online and in music stores.
Have a listen to some more songs by Will Varley:
Will is currently giving away free tracks on his Facebook page: Simply follow this link to get this 3-track special.