Concert Review – True Strays

Concert Review – True Strays

Photography by Dave Jones

Words by Ben Macnair

With a sound that took in dust-bowl Americana, the blues, elements of drone rock, ambient noise making and middle-eastern sounding themes and ideas, the four-piece band True Strays offered a series of unexpected musical adventures when they made their Guildhall debut on Saturday January 11th.

The band of drummer and vocalist Matt Cooke, Joe James on double bass, bass and vocals, James Cameron on lead vocals and guitars, and James Graham on Keyboard and Vocals blended pin-sharp vocal harmonies, with blues overtones and an open-minded approach to moods and sounds. Their repertoire largely consisted of their own original material, with choice songs by the likes of Muddy Waters, and Lead Belly.

With a set that ranged from the acoustic bluegrass, hoedown dobro driven opener Daisy, or Can’t Be Satisfied by Muddy Waters, featuring a rare piano solo from James Graham, this was action packed music with plenty of vigour, musical skill and a hard-working rhythm section. Roll On was an electrified wail of a song, with plenty of opportunity for audience participation, whilst Heal The Haunting featured a Led Zeppelin style rock riff, and plenty of energy.

Other songs included a slow burning gospel version of the traditional favourite Railroad Worksong, with some lively singing from the audience, and a rock and roll reading of the love song Oh Darling, and the lively dance-rhythms of Once I was A Boy.

All in all, a great night of live and exciting new musical ideas and sounds from a band that has already given much, but with plenty more ideas and youthful swagger to develop.



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