Release Date: Apr 19, 2019
Record label: Glassnote Entertainment Group
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Jade Bird's debut album takes in rock, country, pop and beyond on a rollicking and brutally honest set of songs. No wonder she's poised for US chart domination Like many of us, Jade Bird worships at the altar of Bruce Springsteen. When NME met her last year, she waxed lyrical about The Boss' one-two punch of 'Nebraska' and 'Born in the U.S.A.' between 1982 and 1984.
Jade Bird is hardly the first Brit to be smitten with America, but the 21-year-old singer-songwriter has her own agenda. As a teenager in Wales, she taught herself to play her grandmother's guitar and found herself drawn to classic Americana storytellers, from Dolly Parton to indie-folk duo the Civil Wars. Near the end of her tutelage at the legendary BRIT School, she holed up in a pal's bathroom to record a demo tape, which landed her a management deal and recording session with the Felice Brothers' Simone Felice, producer for the Lumineers and Bat for Lashes.
The anti-SadIndieChick Something amazing happened in the last few years. Incredibly talented women started to surface all throughout the indie-pop music scene: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Haley Heynderickx, Soccer Mommy, Madeline Kenney, Molly Burch, Tomberlin…the list goes on for miles. I got caught up in it about as much as anyone, and for good reason.
The Lowdown: It would be easy to say that Jade Bird came out of nowhere. She released her debut EP, Something American , at the age of 19, and now, a short two years later, her takeover of the folk rock world is rapidly underway. But this self-titled album affirms that Bird has arrived at the peak of the new music scene from the opposite of nowhere — rather, from behind-the-scenes years of hard work, passion, and emotional investment.
With the release of her 2017 EP, Something American, British singer/songwriter Jade Bird gave every appearance of a star in the making. Just 19 at the time, her youth, emotional honesty, and effortlessly powerful voice fueled her brand of melodic folk-rock with just the right amount of casual grit and breeziness. She broke out the following year with "Lottery," a punchy acoustic strummer with a rousing chorus that further showcased her skill with pop hooks and rock dynamics.
A few well-worn stereotypes may come to mind when you think of country, but few of them apply to Jade Bird. The genre is having a renaissance of sorts, thanks to the success of Stateside artists such as Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris, but Jade has previously spoken about being labelled a 'country artist' as something which could be potentially restricting. Based on her self-titled debut, she shouldn't be too worried about that.
Once the circle of listening to Jade Bird has kicked off, it is hard to stop. Jade Bird's debut album documents an emotional journey of pain and joy delivered with an immensely uplifting energy. Still only in her early twenties, her young age is no barrier to demonstrating an understanding of some of the complexities in life, and Bird shows her ability to channel a range of emotions with precision and a piercing intensity.
It takes a couple of songs for Jade Bird's self-titled debut album to reveal its reason for being. The low-key "Ruins" boasts a pleasant chorus and "Lottery" underlines this British singer-songwriter's debt to Nashville, even as it settles for the kind of corn that passes for cleverness in some country-pop hits. But Bird hits a nerve with "I Get No Joy," a live-in-the-moment declaration delivered with raspy ferocity.
J ade Bird talks a good fight: she writes her own songs; doesn't want other people telling her how she feels; made her first recordings in the Catskills with Simone Felice. She's got some people very excited - one US industry commentator reckoned last year: "If this were the late 80s, Jade Bird would already be a star. " That's perhaps a decade out: her debut album is MOR-Americana-with-edges of the kind that Sheryl Crow and Meredith Brooks were having hits with in the 90s.