UK Singer-Songwriter Wanders Through The UK And The USA


Jade Bird has lived in many places. The 25-year-old English singer-songwriter was raised in England, Germany and Wales, recorded an album in New York’s Catskill Mountains, spent two years in Austin and recently moved to Los Angeles.

Bird, who has released two albums and is working on a third, says all her friends in the music business moved to Los Angeles, and the music scene in the City of Angels is very awake.

“The weather doesn’t hurt either, although I do miss the rain (in the United Kingdom),” she says. “I’ve also recently been inspired by the music that came out of California in the 1970s, so it felt so appropriate to be here at this stage of my life. Since being a kid, I’ve always traveled and never stayed in one place too long. And I think I’ll always be a little like that, at least for now.”

Bird recommends that visitors to Los Angeles eat at Honey Hi, a Sunset Strip restaurant that emphasizes local, organic vegetables and says it serves “food that promotes personal, public and planetary well-being. “

“Honey Hi’s breakfast bowl is like witchcraft,” Bird says. “It’s become a staple since moving to L.A.”

Another staple is Stories, a Sunset Boulevard bookstore and cafe.

“The range of books there is incredible,” Bird says. “I always come home with books I wouldn’t have discovered online — everything from Sinead O’Connor’s biography to nature books. They also have really fun postcards to send to those at home.”

Bird looks fondly at Austin, particularly the Broken Spoke, a home to country music and Texas cooking since 1964 that bills itself as “the last of the true Texas dance halls.”

“I love that I can go to the Broken Spoke,” Bird says,“and get a taste of what old Texas was like, with its folk music and feel.”

The Broken Spoke, once the venue where country superstars Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff and Tex Ritter performed, “is the last hole in the wall in a city that seems to be modernizing more and more each year,” Bird says. “It’s good to have places that still have the spirit of Austin. The decor and the ambience take you back in time. You can get lost for hours playing pool or line-dancing.”

Stubb’s, an Austin barbecue restaurant and concert club, is another favorite.

“Every show I’ve played there is something out of a dream, and I would love to headline there one day,” Bird says. “Austin also has the best crowds in the world. They’re on your side, and you can say the same for the local music scene.”

Bird treasures her time in London during her teenage years. She moved there at age 16 to become part of the city’s folk music scene.

“I lived in London for about three years before I started on the road,” she says. “I went to a music school there and gigged constantly — like four times a week. I think my classmates thought I was a bit mad. I love how you can get on the Tube a couple destinations and arrive somewhere that feels like a completely different place.”

London’s borough of Camden has special meaning to Bird.

“I grew up playing at the Spiritual Bar in Camden,” she says. “It’s an old hole-in-the-wall blues bar that nurtures upcoming talent, especially new musicians playing more classic-sounding music. Thanks go to the amazing owner Raf who is from Brazil. It’s really where I got started in my career, and I am grateful for it.”

Bird believes visitors to London would enjoy another one of her favorite places: Daunt Books in the city’s Marylebone neighborhood.

“You can get lost in there for hours,” she says. “As a huge book fan, although it’s a little out of the way, it is well worth the trip.”

Visitors to the UK should consider spending time in Manchester, a city of 586,000 residents about 200 miles northwest of London, Bird says.

““There are tons of restaurants around the area,” she says. “The Deaf Institute is a super-small venue that feels like a living room and one of my favorite places to play when I started out. Manchester is one of my favorite cities for music. Whenever you’re there, you can feel decades of music. Check if there is a gig, while you’re in town. A lot of my inspirations come from there.”

Before London, Bird lived in Bridgend, South Wales, from ages 7-15. Bridgend sits along the River Ogmore — 20 miles west of Cardiff and upstream from the Bristol Channel — with five ruined castles in the city or nearby.

Though it wasn’t home, Bird has warm thoughts about Palenville, New York, the Catskill Mountains hamlet where she recorded her first album. Palenville has many waterfalls, swimming holes and scenic vistas and was a 19th-Century home of Thomas Cole and other painters in the Hudson River School.

“I recorded my first album in upstate New York with the incredible Simone Felice,” Bird recalls. “His family has owned a local general store for generations that feels as vintage as it is and has the most warm, friendly staff. I would eat breakfast there every morning before recording — the breakfast bagel was my go-to. Spending time there as a passerby makes you feel part of the culture of upstate New York.”

Circle W Market – Palenville, NY (Upstate) – I recorded my first album in upstate New York with the incredible Simone Felice. His family has owned a local general store for generations that feels as vintage as it is and has the most warm and friendly staff. I would eat breakfast there every morning before recording – the breakfast bagel was my go to. Spending time there as a passerby makes you feel part of the culture of Upstate New York.

Bird, who this year performed at a show that was broadcast on Austin City Limits, says she has lived in many towns.

Bird

Bird says her performance on Austin City Limits was special.

“I felt so humbled that my band would play such a pinnacle moment in my career with such care and precision,” she says. “Every success is about the people you’re around; otherwise, it’s going to be hollow. I felt that the audience was on my side, and I can’t tell you how much that means. I have played so many shows in Austin that have become lifetime memories.”

In an interview last year with the Austin Chronicle, Bird mentioned how special aid she

“I never went to university, so this is my first home. That’s crazy,” she laughs. “Just having this dog and renting this house, I really am ready to put roots down. I love this city. Austin feels quite grounded and down-to-earth, which just sort of mimics the English mentality. We really love it. I love all the radio here, and it’s really nice to feel a part of this community of songwriters, as well. Moving here, it’s definitely helped me in terms of integrating into a community that I wanted to be a part of. “

Bird sang Don Mclean’s classic song “American Pie” for the documentary “The Day the Music Died: American Pie.”

UK

Spiritual Bar – I grew up playing at Spiritual Bar in Camden. It’s an old hole in the wall blues bar that nurtures upcoming talent, especially new musicians playing more classic-sounding music. That is all thanks to the amazing owner Raf who is from Brazil. It’s really where I got started in my career and am grateful for it.

Daunt Books, Marylebone – You can get lost in there for hours. As a huge book fan, although it’s a little out of the way, it is well worth the trip in.

Manchester – The Deaf Institute – Super small venue that feels like a living room. It was one of my favorite places to play when I started out. There are tons of restaurants around the area. Manchester is one of my favorite cities for music – whenever you’re there you can feel decades of music and it is a great introduction to the city. You should check if there is a gig while you’re in town. A lot of my inspirations come from there.

America

Stubbs – Austin, TX – I feel like every show I’ve ever played there is something out of a dream and I would love to headline there one day. Austin also has the best crowds in the world. They’re on your side and you can say the same for the local music scene.

Broken Spoke – Austin, TX – The last hole in the wall in a city that seems to be modernizing more and more each year. It’s good to have places that still have the spirit of Austin. The decor and the ambience take you back in time. You can get lost for hours playing pool or line-dancing.

Stories Books and Cafe – Echo Park/Sunset Blvd – The range of books here is incredible. I always come home with books I wouldn’t have discovered online. Everything from Sinead O’Connor’s biography to nature books. They also have really fun postcards to send to those at home.

Honey Hi – Their breakfast bowl is like witchcraft. It’s become a staple since moving to LA. *picture*

Circle W Market – Palenville, NY (Upstate) – I recorded my first album in upstate New York with the incredible Simone Felice. His family has owned a local general store for generations that feels as vintage as it is and has the most warm and friendly staff. I would eat breakfast there every morning before recording – the breakfast bagel was my go to. Spending time there as a passerby makes you feel part of the culture of Upstate New York.

ootage from the film “The Day the Music Died: American Pie”

To make her first record, Bird flew across the Atlantic to work with Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers, an admirer of her songwriting and her unique sound. At his studio in the Catskills, just outside Woodstock, New York, the pair corralled an expert crew that included producer/engineer David Baron (Bat for Lashes, Peter Murphy), drummer Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright), and Americana legend Larry Campbell (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan).

have been operating the Austin tradition since 1964 and its reputation for great live country music and good Texas cooking is World Famous! We have hosted Presidents, State Governors, the Queen’s entourage and super stars from all genres of entertainment. They all visit the Broken Spoke in Austin, because its the Real Deal! No phony-bologny here! This is the Real Texas!

Back in the sixties, the Spoke played host to countless country super stars and legends. Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and Tex Ritter have all tipped their hats from the stage at the far end of this old dance hall.

Willie Nelson started playing at the Spoke before he moved back from Nashville when he still had a crew cut and a sport coat – before he brought braids and tennis shoes to the forefront of country fashion. In fact, it’s not a bit unusual to stumble into the Spoke on a Friday or Saturday night and find the Red-Headed Stranger kicked back against an amp, picking with whatever band is the featured entertainment of the night. It’s no secret that the Broken Spoke is one of Willie’s favorite hang-outs when he’s home in Austin.

Allmusic:

A London-based singer/songwriter with a powerful voice, Jade Bird offers a winsome mix of folk, pop, and rustic Americana. While still in her teens she joined the roster of influential indie Glassnote Records, which released her chart-topping 2019 debut album. Working with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, she delivered her follow-up, Different Kinds of Light, in 2021.

Drawn to songwriting at a young age, Bird spent her teenage years gigging around England, moving to London when she was only 16 to hone her stagecraft and immerse herself in the city’s folk circuit. The success of a live YouTube performance of her song “Madeline” eventually won Bird a deal with Glassnote, which released her debut EP, Something American, in 2017. She spent part of that year touring the U.S. with Americana singer Brent Cobb. The bright, hooky single “Lottery” arrived in January 2018, and topped Billboard’s Triple A chart. Subsequent singles “Uh Huh” and “I Get No Joy” fared similarly well and were later included on Bird’s eponymous full-length debut in April 2019. The album topped the U.K. Americana chart and reached number ten on the pop chart.