Band of the Week: Jeff Varga

Band of the Week: Jeff Varga
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Varga

MEET THE BAND: Jeff Varga (vocals, guitar)

GOING GLOBAL: Born in Cleveland, Varga moved to New York after high school. "I toured and played all over the world with different bands," he says. "I was always doing songwriting and trying to get things going." He moved back to Northeast Ohio in the 1980s and has worked the local scene ever since. "Songwriting starts with the Beatles for me, and then I got into singer-songwriter guys like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt," says Varga. "When I was growing up, people asked me if I heard the new Led Zeppelin. I was like, 'No, but I have the new Jim Croce album.' I was always the acoustic guy."

DOUBLING UP: Varga released a single in 1987 and has released singles and albums ever since. This month, he'll put out two new albums, One More Hour and Leftovers from Tomorrow.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: "A Little More Wine," from One More Hour, features a bluesy guitar riff and soulful vocals as Varga sings and skats throughout. "The song came to me after I was reading a book on Guy Clark," says Varga. "He and Rodney Crowell, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle would get together in Austin with a big jug of wine and write songs and critique each other's material. I realized that when you have a little more wine, you can create whatever story you want and be concise and get the story across. It's basically a love song, but aren't they all? As long as you can convey the feeling with the music and the words, you did the best you can."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Varga performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Stocker Arts Center in Elyria, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at Around the Corner.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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