"I like your sound, it's a mix of Honky-tonk, the Burritos and the Byrds" - when Albert Lee gives a compliment like that, you just gotta take notice. Add the spirit of Johnny Cash and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and you’ll have some idea what these Varmints are about.
Hailing from the Wild West Midlands, these good ol’ boys create a driven Black Country and Western sound with acoustic and b-bendered Telecaster guitars, distinctive harmony vocals and a helluva rhythm section.
Mix the roots of bluegrass and the twangtastic of Nashville, with the odd thrashville and upbeat line dancin’ thrown in for good measure. They ain’t afraid to take the volume down for a weepie, but we can testify that good ol’ preachin’ Varmint humour ain’t never too far away. And hey, those songs are their own!
These boys have supported good buddies Albert Lee, Country Joe, Paul Young’s Los Pacaminos, Hacienda Brothers, Hayseed Dixie and the great James Burton TCB band. Four of their songs have appeared in the top 20 of independent country charts around Europe. They’ve had radio airplay all over the world and their 2003 debut album “Independence Day” is now available on iTunes in the UK and nearly 40 other digital providers worldwide, and so is the twangtastic follow up, 'Bucket Town'(see review below). They have regular BBC airplay in the Midlands, have been featured on BBC Midlands Today and have just been scheduled for inclusion on the Texas based Americana Roots Radio station.
Here’s a review of the noo album from HiFi+ Magazine;
"Highway Dave And The Varmints - Bucket Town"
New Mountain Music NMM 2007/4 Reviewed by RP
"Affectionately described as "rebel renegade purveyors of finest Black Country and Western music" Highway Dave and The Varmints are a six piece band with a pair of percussionists who play an authentic sounding and high octane alternative country groove with a dash of bustling Americana thrown into the mix. A dozen up tempo and rhythmically evocative songs with titles like ’Tailgatin’’, ’88 Cubic Inch V Twin’, ’Hard Shoulder’ and ’Folsom Prison Blues’ atmospherically recreate that sense of dusty back roads, diners, hard knocks at a woman’s hands and a healthy disregard for the law.
The analogue recording made at the Norfolk Grange Studios, supervised by Dave Williams and mastered by ex-Sony engineer, David Mitson is clean as a whistle and has a fleetness that does well to keep pace with the band’s foot stompin’ momentum. Its bedrock guitars, mandolin and lightly delivered vocals are presented accurately and with endearing warmth. As a concept, albums such as Bucket Town and bands like Highway Dave and The Varmints provide an unexpectedly likeable and credible take on music owned by their peers across the pond. And they’re fun too… "
So “What’cha gonna do?” Well, just “keep it down to 85” and git yerself along to a Highway Dave and The Varmints gig real soon to find out for yerself.
Sure, you can run from this band but you’ll only get tired!