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Doug Varty Band - 'Feel Free' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/48/4e/36/3011_dougvartybandfeelfree_1354039463.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 27, 2012    
 
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A very enjoyable blues rock album that knows when to rock out and when to lay back.

Canadian Doug Varty has been around the block a few times, playing with such respected figures as Jeff Healey, Paul Rodgers and Bob Seger. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him, because he was new to me, too. He and his band are proponents of blues rock in a very traditional way, and whilst he’s unlikely to become a superstar, I’d be surprised if Doug Varty didn’t have plenty of dedicated fans out there, because he’s a dab hand at what he does.

Straight off, ‘Feel Free’ beings to mind classic, Bon Scott era AC/DC with opening track ‘Kickin’ Ass’ a straightforward blues boogie romp that is pretty hard to dislike, all knuckledusters and cheap beer. Thankfully, the whole album isn’t just this again and again, with the band throwing some more traditional 12 bar blues at the listener, such as the title track, and a few that settle in between the two styles. They’re equally competent at everything they do, and although I personally find the rockier stuff more invigorating, there’s some very sweet blues tracks going on as well.

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The running order is well set, with the Airborne-lite ’The Itch’ followed by the emotional, powerful blues of ‘Paid’, which would feel just right on a Joe Bonamassa album, and I mean that in a good way. Varty handles both vocals and guitar throughout, and proves to be adept at both, managing to sing like a down dirty rock and roller and a bluesman whose cat has just been raped by his dead grandma when applicable.

Although ‘Feel Free’ lacks the spark of genius that would make it an essential purchase, it is nonetheless a very enjoyable blues rock album that knows when to rock out and when to lay back. Many people asked what I was listening to whilst I familiarized myself with it, with several noting the details, and this says something. If you like Joe Bonamassa and AC/DC alike, I think you will have a very good time partying with the Doug Varty Band.

Alan Holloway

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