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 fifteen and founded her first band Skyline, performing her own material. Drawing influences from great country performers such as Patsy Cline, Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and k.d. Lang, Jay fronted the hottest band on the country circuit, 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 (www.albertlee.co.uk) who performs on her independently released debut CD 'Only When You Smile'. (Available from www.cdbaby.com and Virgin Megastore, San Francisco).
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 rock and pop audiences are being converted right and left 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, this band is constantly breaking new ground. Musical director/co-writer/bass guitarist Rob McCloskey makes his mark with innovative song arrangements, and drummer Ken Owen adds a rock solid bottom end with impeccable tempos and dynamics. Lead guitarist K.C. effortlessly lends another dimension with his slick guitar pickin’. Rounding out the band are Gary Chiappetta on pedal steel guitar and former Spinal Tap keyboard player (!) David Kaffinetti (Viv Savage). Kimberlye Gold, music critic for Grapevine Culture (www.grapevineculture.com), eats it up: “Valerie Jay & The Americanos have got it all: a strikingly beautiful singer with fab stage presence, strong material, and a kick-ass country band to dress her up.”
In October 2004 , Jay’ released 'Pacific Time', her debut CD with the Americanos: a genre-crossing treasure chest of classic country, rock standards and original gems.
“It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to bring the music I love back to America, where it was born, and infuse my own personal experiences,” Jay says with her distinctive English accent. “I’ve always been a country girl at heart, and now I get to share it with the world.”