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British folk singer Will Varley stayed true to the roots of folk by combining personal storytelling with political statements. Varley started his career in typical folk fashion by turning up at open-mike nights in and around London. It wasn't until 2010 that he left London for the garden of England, otherwise known as Kent. The slower pace of life and supportive folk community in Kent allowed Varley to co-found, with Cocos Lovers, an arts and folk collective called Smugglers Records. Through his newfound label he released his debut album, Advert Soundtracks. The following year, Varley embarked on a walking tour to support the release. He began at London Bridge before heading 120 miles back to his home in Kent, carrying nothing save his guitar and a tent. Varley spent the next two years focusing on live shows, steadily building up a reputation in the political folk sphere, including appearances at the Occupy London protests and The Bank of Ideas. His second studio album, 2013's As the Crow Flies, took a more mature tone and was followed by an even more ambitious walking tour; this time Varley walked 500 miles along the south coast of England. The following year he was asked to support Frank Turner for his homecoming show in Portsmouth, leading to further support shows throughout 2014 and 2015. Toward the end of the tour they were set to play The Royal Albert Hall in London; moments before Varley took to the stage he signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, which would later release his third studio album Postcards from Ursa Minor. 2016 featured a string of impressive support slots, including more shows with Frank Turner, 25 live dates with the Proclaimers -- he did walk 500 miles, after all -- and a handful of shows with seminal folk-punk singer Billy Bragg. In late 2016, Varley wrote, recorded, and released his fourth full-length record, Kingsdown Sundown. ~ Liam Martin
March 07, 1987 in Deal, Kent, England