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SINGLES REVIEW: Cash” and “Don’t Push Me” by Phil Varca and the SlamJammers

Phil Varca and the SlamJammers are poised to elevate their profile in a major way with the release of their new singles “Cash” and “Don’t Push Me”. They’ve surrounded themselves with a first class team courtesy of the renowned Wing Agency and are building a bright future off the backs of playing support and opening roles for acts as diverse as Shemekia Copeland, Popa Chubby, Robin Trower, and NRBQ, among others. Their performances and songwriting are filled with blues influences, but Varca and the SlamJammers rock with a lot of abandon and more than adequate chops in that stylistic vein. Both tracks exhibit a significant amount of focus and the band’s musical vision kicks even a hint of self-indulgence to the curb. Varca’s certainly a compelling singer and the production orchestrates his vocal with the instrumental attack in a satisfying way. It’s a one-two punch that’s a real winner.

“Cash” gets things started with a significant amount of zip. Despite the fast pace though, this isn’t a band that ever lets a song getting too carried away and their techniques allow them to keep it under tight wraps while still thrilling listeners with hints of chaos nearly averted. You can easily hear who informed Phil Varca’s guitar playing and sound, but he’s never imitative – instead, we get a dollop of the familiar wrapped up in a melodic sensibility that knows when to show its claws at just the right time. His vocal prowess is nearly equal to his six string talents and he manifests a modern Howlin’ Wolf quality with his phlegmy and weathered voice. Despite its lack of classical beauty, “Cash” shows he can get inside the words for a song and truly emote. There’s limited need for that here, but the hard-bitten nature of the situation elicits a rough and ready vocal from Varca.

“Don’t Push Me” is much more personal than the aforementioned romp about a sexy lady and Varca slows the tempo down to a mid-stride. It helps this number connect with listeners on a deeper level, particularly as Varca uses the song to vent some apparently long harbored displeasure, and it results in quite a memorable performance. The song has a stronger chorus than the first and Varca’s voice does an exceptional job of conveying his warning forming the basis of the song. Varca’s bandmates are with  him every step of the way and provide a hard hitting, yet fleet footed, rhythm, section attack. “Don’t Push Me” and “Cash” show off the power that this musical style still holds for the right players and there’s no question that Phil Varca and the SlamJammers bring their considerable experience into play when unleashing a pair of musical winners like these. These singles are a reminder of why the band has endured nearly three decades and continues to write and record original music true to its roots and full of personality.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Phil-Varca-The-SlamJammers-48864744834/

by William Elgin

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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