Being old AF, I’m usually pretty far behind the curve when it comes to discovering new music but with Jade Bird, I’m fairly on point thanks to my buddy, Babar (not the elephant). Babs made me listen to Jade Bird’s ear worm “Uh Huh” and I was instantly smitten with this little badass. I couldn't get enough of her.
The Hubby, Babs and I went to Vegas to see Jade when she opened for Hozier last April and she blew us away. She walked out onto the Palm’s Pearl Theater stage alone, no backing band, just her and her acoustic guitar and she fucking OWNED that place and all 2,000 members of the audience. We went specifically to see her, not Hozier, but most of the other attendees had never heard of her. At first, there were a lot of disinterested murmurings of, “Who is this chick anyway?” By the end of her set they were saying, “Who IS this chick anyway?!”
I saw her again last night at the Bluebird in Denver and once again, she was a blast. This time she did have a spot-on backing band which consists of Will Rees on guitar, Linus Fenton on bass and drummer Matt Johnson (fun fact: Matt was Jeff Buckley's drummer!). She’s got a raw, gravelly voice that can seer your eardrums with white hot rage or break your heart in a single poignant word. She’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll but not in a Donnie & Marie way despite the seventies vibe she gives off (that sentence made zero sense to anyone under 45. I’m including a link to historical footage from an ancient television show that will explain it to the youngsters). Rolling Stone says “her story-driven songs veer between Americana, punk and soulful indie-pop,” which makes her the new Alanis Morrissette if Alanis was British and did the occasional Johnny Cash cover.
What I especially loved about her shows, beyond the powerhouse vocals, heartfelt lyrics and infectious melodies, is that unlike most of today’s dead-eyed, joyless Gen Z performers who seem to be milliseconds away from either slipping into a coma or opening up a vein (I’m looking at you, Billie Eilish), Jade Bird is truly having the time of her life onstage, appreciating every moment, playfully snarling and laughing and gleefully celebrating that she is living her dream. Instead of pretending to be sullen to prove how 'deep' she is, she openly shared her delight with the audience. She engaged with us time and again by showing true vulnerability and authenticity -- no posing, no polish -- and I found it utterly captivating.
I also applaud the way she presents herself as simply an amazingly talented singer/songwriter instead of a sexualized plaything who happens to sing and write songs (I’m looking at you, 98% of today’s performers). I have watched every video I can find of her and I am happy to say, I’ve never seen even a sliver of her naked breasts. It’s almost as if she wants to be judged on her musical merits instead of her tits. Weird.
Want more? Make yourself happy and give these videos a view/listen:
I’ve Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash cover)
Love Has All Been Done Before
Articles and reviews that said all of this much better than I can:
The Boot: Who Is Jade Bird
NPR: Best Album of the Year So Far (midyear)
Consequence of Sound: Jade Bird Reflects and Roars on Powerful Self-Titled Debut
NME: Jade Bird Album Review