CD Reviews

Doug Varty is living proof that rock n’ roll is alive and well. His new album, Feel Free, grabs you from the first note of Kickin’ Ass to the close of Make My Day. It’s straight ahead rock n’ roll that drips with attitude and explodes with energy fueled by his masterful guitar licks. Yes, it’s retro, but it’s fresh, honest, tasteful and true to the genre. And there’s some sweet blues (Feel Free), too. Enjoy. I did.”
-Joseph John Belanger, Entertainment writer, London Free Press


From Fireworks Magazine, UK: Oct. 2102

Canadian Doug Varty has been around the block a few times, playing with such respected figures as Jeff Healey, Paul Rodgers and Bob Seger. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him, because he was new to me, too. He and his band are proponents of blues rock in a very traditional way, and whilst he’s unlikely to become a superstar, I’d be surprised if Doug Varty didn’t have plenty of dedicated fans out there, because he’s a dab hand at what he does.

Straight off, ‘Feel Free’ beings to mind classic, Bon Scott era AC/DC with opening track ‘Kickin’ Ass’ a straightforward blues boogie romp that is pretty hard to dislike, all knuckledusters and cheap beer. Thankfully, the whole album isn’t just this again and again, with the band throwing some more traditional 12 bar blues at the listener, such as the title track, and a few that settle in between the two styles. They’re equally competent at everything they do, and although I personally find the rockier stuff more invigorating, there’s some very sweet blues tracks going on as well.

The running order is well set, with the Airborne-lite ’The Itch’ followed by the emotional, powerful blues of ‘Paid’, which would feel just right on a Joe Bonamassa album, and I mean that in a good way. Varty handles both vocals and guitar throughout, and proves to be adept at both, managing to sing like a down dirty rock and roller and a bluesman whose cat has just been raped by his dead grandma when applicable.

Although ‘Feel Free’ lacks the spark of genius that would make it an essential purchase, it is nonetheless a very enjoyable blues rock album that knows when to rock out and when to lay back. Many people asked what I was listening to whilst I familiarized myself with it, with several noting the details, and this says something. If you like Joe Bonamassa and AC/DC alike, I think you will have a very good time partying with the Doug Varty Band.

Fireworks Magazine, UK: Alan Holloway


“Doug, DVB Feel Free is Rock’n brother…. I’m diggin ‘Paid’ reminds me of old Thin Lizzy aka. Phil Lynott and the Rock & Roll standards with cool hooks ‘The Itch’ and ‘Kick’n Ass’ very good Rock & Roll”
-Peter John Palmer II, SoulHeavy


‘Feel Free’ is the breathtaking hugely enjoyable new ten track album from Ontario’s classic based blues rock artists The Doug Varty Band. This album has all the fundamentals I like about classic rock albums that strikes a chord with me for it’s rich diversity, fun energy and passion streaming through the music.
A lot of care and attention has gone into the creation of ‘Feel Free’, especially with the production which is massive, and it baffles me as to why artists like Doug Varty Band are not huge. This record has all the hallmarks that fans of this genre love as it is beautifully performed from all musicians which also includes Rob Allen – Bass and Dale Penney – Drums. DVB are a full on classic rock band of the highest calibre, this rocks bad ass man, if you’re looking for the new breed of classic rock bands, look no further.

‘Kickin’ Ass’ does what it says on the tin, raspy vocals and crispy guitars dog this song, it’s feel good catchy factor works wonders, a little Bob Segar and Sammy Hagar (solo), crossed with Aerosmith and Cold Chisel. The grooving ‘Feel Free’ has a strong Bad Company early Foreigner vibe, with a little Lynyrd Skynyrd thrown in, good time classic boogie rock with great vocals from Doug.

‘Make My Day’ is more bluesy and melodic, this one makes me think of Mr. Big and early Foreigner. It’s probably one of my favourite songs. This one is a very catchy classic melodic rocker that will probably smoke live. ‘Now You’re Talkin’ is also very catchy and rocks, like a mix of ZZ Top and Bad Company. I can see radio picking up on this track, very, very catchy and very good playing, maybe even a little Status Quo boogie woogie in there for texture too. ‘Paid’ is a razor sharp, very melodic and moody song. I really loved this track, the vocals are soulful and the whole vibe is excellent. This is another huge song, just check out that Steven Tyler style screech mid way through, awesome. ‘I Wanna Fight About It’ is another cool fun rocker in the Bad Company/Mr. Big vein.

Musically it’s all here, there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout ‘Feel Free’ and Doug Varty Band makes you listen and smile,  we couldn’t ask for more really an this is one of those albums I can play forever and get lost in.  Watch out for Doug Varty Band, one to look out for in the future and a band who play with feeling and style, and that’s a rare thing, Europe awaits fellas, well done.

Nicky Baldrian
Fireworks Magazine, UK


Raspy, take-no-shit vocals, soaring guitar and a constantly pounding bass give the Doug Varty Band a streamlined but hard-hitting sound that sees the three-piece storm through “Feel Free” – a rather glorious dose of blues rock, littered with great vocal hooks and memorable riffs.

Whilst there are some occasional flairs of other artists (“Upsetter” is reminiscent of some of Steve Lukather’s more rocking solo work and title track “Feel Free” sounds like an Americanised Cream), the Doug Varty Band manage to keep their own character, primarily through the wonderfully tempered voice of Doug himself.

When an album’s lyrics are all about good times and rock ‘n’ roll and bolstered by strong musicianship and a ferocious voice, it’s hard not to be charmed by the entire affair. If you’re looking for something to nod your head to on a summer’s day, you could do a lot worse than “Feel Free”.

Powerplay Magazine, UK: Sam Khaneka


“Doug Varty inhabits a bleakly funny and boisterously funky universe in these songs. There are playful echoes of AC/DC every now and then. Fighting, sex and booze blend into a world where our anti-heroes are often down, but never really out. Varty (vocals, guitars, percussion), Rob Allen (bass) and Dale Penney (drums, percussion, background vocals) are in bruising gear all the way. Among the guests, Big Sugar’s Kelly Hoppe’s harmonica adds change-of-pace texture on two tracks, one of them the terrific ‘Feel Free’ (Varty’s more humane Maggie May) itself. ince co-producer Bob Breen asked, I think the single ought to be ‘Now You’re Talkin.’”
-James Reaney, Entertainment Editor, London Free Press

“Really digging EVERYTHING about ‘Feel Free’! Great job Doug, Dale, Rob, and Bob!!”
Ken Trevenna, Ontario Institute of Applied Recording Technology

 DVB Power Trio


“Doug Varty has produced a riveting album of Classic Hard Rock’n’ Blues and fans of early AC/DC are going to love it. This album’s loaded with hits – check out “Upsetter”, “Kickin’ Ass”, “Feel Free”, “Intoxicated” and  “The Itch”.
The riffs are catchy, the solos devastating, the rhythm section impeccable and the rock/soul singing heartbreaking.  A  MUST!!  Hey Bon, this one’s for you!”

THOMMY MARTINEZ radio coteaux, France


Three piece who sound rather like AC/DC who’ve gone to the South and partied with ZZ Top for a while.

Songs about having a good time, not taking sh*t and getting taken back by a hot chick – you know, the usual thing that happens every single day to rock stars all over the planet. Highlights on here include the opening Younn-like rocker ‘Kickin’ Ass’; the blues of the title track ‘Feel Free’; the stomping ‘n’ gutsy ‘Now You’re Talking’; the Free/Bad Company esque ‘Intoxicated’ or the closing quirky ZZ Top blues meets wacky electronica of closer ‘Make My Day’. Good ole boys for defo!

Metaliville Magazine: 8/10  By Glenn Milligan


The Canadian band DOUG VARTY BAND is likewise based around DOUG VARTY, who is the guitarist and vocalist of he band. Musically speaking it is raw Bluesy Rock of the BAD COMPANY/COLD CHISEL kind meets AC/DC Hardrock, with also some Bar Room Boogie Rock a la ZZ TOP slipped right through. Done very well and fans of this stuff, which usually goes down very well live on stage, well they will absolutely love this album. Check out more at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10) Strutter Webzine, Holland


This is an old-school three-piece power trio led by singer/guitarist Doug Varty. If you like your rock hard then this is the party disc for you; Parts rockin’ blues and straight-up rock and roll a la  AC/DC, Nazareth and Bad Company. I’m usually leery of the retro rock ‘sound’, but these guys have shaved the edges off the nostalgia and instead recorded a fresh sounding album of familiar 1970s styles. Standout tracks are the Four Horsemen/Airborne styled “Kickin’ Ass and Taking Down Names” (which should have been the album’s title, in my humble opinion), “The Itch” which is a down and dirty blues number, “Now You’re Talkin’”, and “I Wanna Fight About”. The album’s one of the strongest rock records I’ve heard in years…and it was produced by Varty and Robert Breen in London, Ontario. Rumour has it these guys smoke live as well. Get your Varty fix here:

Jaimie Vernon, “Don’t Believe A Word I Say”, Compact DISCovery , Cashbox Canada


“Did I tell you how much I love the new CD? It is GREAT driving music!”  – Barb Collishaw, music lover


“The Great Lakes Blues Society had Doug and the band in for our spotlight act. He did not disappoint!”  Paul Breau, Great Lakes Blues Society