“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
With over 20 UK festivals under their belt in 2018, their first foray into the European festival scene at La Truite Magique, Belgium and live sessions with Sofar Sounds and BBC Introducing in the West, things are starting to come together for True Strays and its founding members James Cameron and Joseph James.
The True Strays are a vintage loving, blues fuelled, dirty rock and roll band. Their live shows are a joyous hoedown of huge bass driven riffs, a howling tornado of resonator guitar, cacophonous drums and soaring Hammond organ.
Influences span the history of modern music with great admiration for the delta blues of the 40s and 50s, British Invasion and Psychedelic Rock of the 60s and 70s, Southern Rock and Soul and modern age Punk, Rock and Blues artists. Blues music is at the heart of everything they do but their sound isn’t bound to those rules or that genre. Influences include greats like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac, The Doors and Pink Floyd and more recent punk and rock and roll bands like Nirvana, QOTSA and Idles.
True Strays have made Bristol their home recently, after a previous band disintegrated after 5 years hard work. Determined to never be in that situation again, the True Strays was formed with the ambition that this band would last. With a new set of songs and hopes in their suitcases, the band set of doing what they knew best; playing live. A real road band, they took any show they could, busked relentlessly, and shared their songs to anyone that would listen. Regularly collaborating with old band mate Matthew Cooke and some of Bristol finest keys session players, the bands sound expanded and found new direction. By the end of that first year this approach was starting to bear fruits, signing up with The Mojo Hobo Agency and secured a publishing deal with Wipe Out Music.
Their debut EP ‘Where The Wild Things Hide and Hunt,’ which was described as ‘Delightful’ by Blues Matters Magazine and the “Real deal” by Dancing About Architecture,” displays the bands love of songwriting and the vintage sounds that inspire them. With four singles under their belts and memorable festival appearances at the likes of Boomtown, Greenman and Shambala, their new batch of material is cooking up deliciously indeed.
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.