Dynamic, rootsy, Americana double-bill in Surrey

Jay Lee and the Hoodoo Skulls

Local Surrey band J Lee and the Hoodoo Skulls opened up this lively show at Guilford’s Star with a blistering set of of energetic, gutsy, swamp blues. A four-piece, led by vocalist, J Lee Barrett, the band delivered a high octane solid, 12-track set of largely original material, culminating with a frenetic and fantastic cover of Shake Your Moneymaker.

Bristol-based outfit, also a four-piece, True Strays, were touring to promote their debut album Heart Of The Matter. With guitar, bass, keys and drums, they had a full sound, and their reputation is rising, with them being a staple on the Americana festival scene.

True Strays

Kicking off with the lively, Rocky Like A Shadow the audience was immediately onside. The heavy beat of Homesick Blues with its riff duplicated on bass and guitar led into the new track Phoenix. Track of the night Campesina was slightly slower than most and with great vocals from James Cameron.

Homeward Bound, no – not the Simon & Garfunkel number, saw Joseph James with stand-up bass, lead this country clap, and singalong hoedown.

An hour and a half later, the group wrapped up with a cracking encore of Let Your Heart Lead The Way and Since I Was A Boy, an appropriate ending for a group formed by two lifelong friends who met in a sandpit when they were young boys, the synergy between the two is clear to see.

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