Aussie songwriter Aiden Varro is never satisfied.
The 26-year-old from Perth has an affinity for unique instrumentation, an obsession fuelled by the exposure he’s gained to different regional musical styles through his extensive touring around the globe.
“I have always been in love with different instruments. My collection at home is now over 20. Many are just cheap knock-offs or scrap pickups I find at a second-hand shop or a little Asian town,” wrote Varro in an email from England. “(I buy instruments) just because they might look cool or are rare, and one day I’ll write a song on it, and include it on an album. I like to fill my albums with random little songs on different instruments.”
The result is a delightful sonic pastiche, where Varro is able to fuse disparate musical elements into a coherent roots and blues-inspired sound, like on his latest release, 2012’s Brothers, Lovers, Liars. Even with the assortment of instruments on the album and in Varro’s live shows, there’s still one he keeps coming back to.
“(The guitar) has always been around for me. Now I’m into acoustic instruments. There is something more natural about an acoustic guitar that I just seem to love,” wrote Varro, who incorporates a six-string, 12-string and a Weissenborn lapslide guitar into his live performances. “I always wanted to have variety in my shows, so I always try to use as many (guitars) as possible. Of course, overseas it’s getting harder and harder with airline travel restrictions.”
Varro’s music draws comparison with other multi-instrumentalists like Ben Harper and fellow Aussie Xavier Rudd, and, like those titans of folk and roots, he writes lyrics that put his social and ethical viewpoints on full display, filtered through the lens of his own personal experiences.
“When I write, I always have to write about something,” wrote Varro. “I can never just write about anything or nothing, as a lot of prolific writers I know can. I always seem to be writing about friends, family, love, hate — things going on around me.”
The nomadic Varro doesn’t have any concrete plans for 2013, choosing to keep his options open. He’s currently touring in London, where he might return after his Canadian tour. Or he might spend another winter in the Great White North. Or maybe he’ll move to Hungary, where he has dual citizenship, who knows?
One thing’s for sure, Varro will be in Whistler next Wednesday (Feb. 20) performing at the Crystal Lounge at 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Check out Varro’s website at www.aidenvarromusic.com.