By: Graham Johnson
Jade Bird is something of an oddity, in my opinion. She’s an emerging artist in the London scene, where she is well known. Though, as strange as it may seem, she plays the Blues; and when I say “The Blues,” I’m not referring to Clapton, Vaughan, or Withers. (Though, the last is much closer) One would have to dig deeper and travel back to The Blues of the 30s and 40s. Very simple, cut-down guitar and a bit of haunting upright piano underneath powerful and emotional vocals, which tend to be the star of the show. Lyrics paint a picture of depression and pain so vivid, one is filled with a powerful melancholy that lingers.
Naturally, Jade Bird’s debut EP [Something American] follows this model fairly closely. Though, the sheer force of Jade’s vocals gives the old genre quite the kick in the ass. Vocals seem inspired by more modern R&B styles, with no shortage of runs and arpeggiated riffing. The most noticeable thing about the EP was the reverb that saturated every track. Both instruments and vocals alike seemed to have the exact same attack and decay, which leads me to believe that this EP may have been recorded live in studio and not tracked. Though, the coolest thing by far? Jade pulls out a ripping Son House cover, Grinnin’ In Your Face. She even pays tribute to the original by opening the track with nothing but rhythmic stomping and powerful vocals.
Jade Bird seemingly came out of nowhere, for me; and Something American has provided something that has been long forgotten: REAL Traditional Blues. Due to this, I felt it quite strange that her Facebook labels her as “Country” and “Folk.” Of course, that too is a matter of opinion. What isn’t a matter of opinion, however, is that Jade Bird is rising. She is blowing up quick and for no uncertain reason. Jade Bird is super classic and Jade Bird is fucking fantastic.
JADE BIRD LIVE:
July 18—New York, NY—Rockwood Music Hall
July 26—Nashville, TN—Bluebird Café
August 1—Nashville, TN—The Basement @ New Faces Night
August 5—Nashville, TN—Musician’s Corner
August 8—Nashville, TN—The Basement @ New Faces Night
August 16—Los Angeles, CA—Hotel Café
August 24—Los Angles, CA—Hotel Café