“Brilliant Rootsy Vibes!” – BBC Bristol
“Rising stars of the UK Americana scene” – The List
“intelligent blues/grunge” – The Grey Lantern / Megs World
“Their creations have vitality, it’s more than just words and music, they pack a real punch and make you sit up and take notice…” – Blues & Roots Radio
“…this trio has always been the real deal.” – Dancing About Architecture
“Delightful” – Blues Matters
“Country cool rock ’n’ roll” – Nitelife Online
“Rockin’ blues at it’s best.” – Swingamajig
“A hip-shaking barrage of blues rock n roll.” – Clunk Magazine
“Brilliant Live!” – Shambala Festival
The challenges of forming a band mean that most split up before they even leave the practise room. True Strays met in a sandpit when they were in playgroup and have seen many a great band fall by the wayside. But despite many previous band break ups and hard knocks, Joe James and James Cameron are using these personal experiences to fuel their latest endeavour with greater urgency and honesty than ever. Life’s too short to hide yourself and give up on your dreams. Based on friendship, honesty and hardwork, True Strays is the culmination of a life times ambition.
True Strays make sounds for an America that didn’t quite exist. Influenced by the blues of Willie Dixon, the calls for justice of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, the dirt of QOTSA and the sonic brilliance of Alabama Shakes. Not just brainless rockers, the music is concerned with zero hour contracts, the destruction of the National Health Service, climate chaos and the mental health epidemic. True Strays are using the rights and wrongs of the past to paint a brighter hope filled future. For Joe and James, writing songs and creating a sound that is believable, real and authentic is at the heart of what they do. Their shows, always melting barriers between audience and band, end in a riotous crowd singing hoedown.
True Strays have been the soundtrack for late night lock ins, pool party break ins, festival headline mayhem, Sofar Sessions, caleidhs, crowd surfing and Extinction Rebellion occupations.
From sand pit beginnings, the band have completed countless UK tours winning fans old and new, supported bands as diverse as My Baby and Elles Bailey, been jump started by Keith Allen, played by BBC Introducing and BBC Radio, played their first European dates, survived 70+ festival shows at prestigious festivals like Green Man, Boom Town, Larmer Tree and Shambala, been featured on the Spotify Nu-Blue playlist, and even curated their own venue for 5 years at the now legendary Fieldview Festival.
Joe and James go way back, having actually met 20 odd years earlier in a sand pit in the conservative heartland of Wiltshire. They spent their teen years sneaking into gigs under age and jumping the fence at Reading Festival. Joe cut his teeth as a roadie for James’ first band. Joe spent his early career immersed in the punk and latin scene of London before relocating off grid to Cornwall where his songwriting began to flourish. Trips to India and Morocco, where his starter motor packed up and he learnt the art of the bump start, hill start, running away from dogs start, gave him the taste for the road and growing passion for roadside repair. James after stints in bands in Birmingham and London, travelled to South America with a rucksack and an old acoustic steel string. With 6 months off, a bottleneck slide and the changing landscape of beaches and jungles, the songs that would be his contribution to the yet unknown new band were written and ready to go.
Back in 2007, Joe and James became a part of Wiltshire’s biggest little festival Fieldview, which grew from a back garden party, into a 3000 capacity not for profit festival highlight, that has raised over £30,000 for local and international campaigns and charities. Their shared love of roots, blues and rock and roll led to the creation of their own venue at the festival. A late night live music bar named the Smoking Juke Joint, showcasing the nations best up and coming blues, roots and americana artists. Adding this all together it’s been quite a ride and one that isn’t going to end any time soon.