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James Varda - Time and Chance

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Suffolk-based singer songwriter James Varda’s fourth and final album before his death from a long battle with cancer in 2015, Chance And Time, set for a vinyl only reissue on Unspun Heroes is an astonishing aural document of a creative, forward -thinking musician coming to terms with a life slowly evaporating away. There is hubris, melancholy and an undeniable weight of sadness in these ten songs but, miraculously, there is also a stoic realisation and acceptance from Varda that is both heart-wrenching and deeply affecting. On Chance And Time Varda reconnects the human spirit to the land, a heavy, fearful heart to an optimistic soul, and in a beautiful poetic flourish gives a real tangible sense of loving and hope to his family and friends offering genuine reassurance and even, at times, a green light for celebration. Carrying a certain air of mystique, that same sense of a ‘other worldliness’ if you will of say a Karen Dalton or a Jeff Buckley, Varda’s delivery and tone carries huge emotional weight here and an unique ability to add an honest perspective and warmth to the starkest of realities. The hard hitting impact of the opening tracks is blunt and sharply defined. There is pain, hardship, and fear wrapped in these tales - ‘The Doctor Spoke, Two Hearts Broke” - made all the more hitting as this is a real life journey in the here and now being catalogued. As we move towards the second half of the record there is something even deeper and truly incredible at play. Varda’s whole demeanor is one of understanding and acceptance - hear the celebratory shamanic vibe of the extraordinary ‘Pass It On’ and the poignantly reflective, chokingly sad finale ‘We Won’t Dream’ - bringing to an end a record that will leave a mark on everyone who hears it. Real art is both timeless and omnipresent, these songs from James Varda will hang in the air forever and be there for those who look to find understanding, joy and a sense of hope. Chance And Time is both

an extraordinary record and poignant study of life and living, of death and what comes
after. James Varda released four albums between 1988 and his death in 2015. A fledgling career beginning on the singer-songwriting folk scene where his arrival was met with both curiosity and critical acclaim as was his debut, the John Leckie produced Hunger. Any momentum was lost however as it would be ten years before the next, In The Valley was met with a ruffle of applause. Cancer took hold of the troubadour and for a number of years Varda lived life and wrote songs until The River And The Stars appeared like a phoenix from the flames as he began to wrestle with the realities of his situation. It’s a record that beautifully lays the ground for this his masterpiece that was to follow.

1) It’s Not Quite Too Late
2) May This Moment Ever Glow
3) The Doctor Spoke
4) Our Love Will Never End
5) Only Love 6) Let My Place
7) One Thing After Another
8)Pass It On
9) Beside The Sea
10) We Won’t Dream

Released March 15th 2024

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James Varda - Time and Chance

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