Statuesque songbird Valerie Jay was born and raised in Hull, county of Yorkshire, England. The youngest of five children, Jay picked up the guitar at thirteen and two years later founded her first band ‘Skyline’, performing her own original material. Drawing influences from great country performers such as Patsy Cline, Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, Jay went on to front the most popular band on the country circuit, ‘Head Over Heels’ playing festivals and country music clubs all over England. An early music review in the local press ‘Hull Daily Mail’ raved “Valerie Jay has a great country voice, quite haunting”.
Fortuitously, Jay met country guitar legend Albert Lee who performs on two of her independent releases, ‘Only When You Smile’ and ‘England’s Calling’. Although Nashville beckoned, in 2001 a combination of circumstances led Jay to move her home base to eclectic San Francisco, California. Here, 'Valerie Jay & The Americanos' was born: a country based, roots-rock band that plays Jay’s original songs next to classic Americana favorites. Bay Area audiences are left mesmerized by the beauty and depth of Jay’s formidable voice and her winning combination of traditional country and cutting edge radio-ready hits. Former senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine and veteran music journalist Ben Fong-Torres sings her praises: “Valerie Jay is a country belter out of England - Emmylou, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt – Jay’s right in there, mixing country and soul, her voice full of heartbreak and passion.”
Backed by the Americanos, an impressive line up of Bay Area talent, the band is constantly breaking new ground. Jay’s longtime friend and bass player Rob McCloskey makes his mark with innovative song arrangements and says of Jay “Her voice is unique. She's a formidable presence, but with a vulnerability. People are moved and touched by her."
Progressively forging ahead in the North and East Bay music venues the band makes their presence felt and after twenty years gracing Bay Area stages, ‘Valerie Jay & The Americanos’ still continue to make new fans, like Roberta Holleman from Penngrove “We’ve been going to Twin Oaks for 40 years and this show was one of the most professional rendition of country covers we’ve ever seen. Stellar Honky Tonk and great originals too!”
Valerie Jay & The Americanos are busy working on a new recording project and when live music re-emerges post pandemic, there will no holding them back.