1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 201

Jade Bird, by Jade Bird
Suggested by Phillip Staines

Despite my genre-based misgivings, the Randomiser does a pretty good job of throwing out an eclectic mix of albums. On any given day, I’m genuinely excited to see what I’ll get.

A lot of the time, I read the artists and titles and I have no idea what to expect. I can hazard guesses, but they’re always hit and miss. On such days, I look to the Suggester’s name, inferring some style or content from their previous suggestions. Because while I’m learning a lot about music and my own relationship with it, I’m also learning a lot about your musical tastes too.

Thus, when I’m listening to an album, I immediately think of the suggesters that might get a kick out of whatever sounds are assaulting my ears. “Hmmm, this is some plinky plonky ambient waffle,” I’ll mutter. “I reckon one of the countless Stuarts would lap it up.” Or I’ll hear yet another Black American Tale of Urban Disenfranchisement Delivered Through The Medium of Rhyming Spoken Word Diatribe, and I’ll be all “I bet Alfie or Krystian, or anyone with a super-cool modern name, will be all over these chaps.”

When I’m writing the review, I do my utmost to speak directly to those I feel will get the greatest kick from the music contained within. In my review of Jade Bird, the singer / songwriter of some fine slices of musical and lyrical Americana, I know precisely who’ll get a kick out of this. I wonder if they’ll pick up my clues?

At twenty-three, Jade Bird brings an uncommon maturity to her self-titled album. The most useful tool in her ample kit is her voice, which is at once glorious and gravelly, soaring and emotive, capable of touching your heartstrings and blasting out your eardrums. Each song on this twelve-strong release offers up fine foundation that showcases her talents front and centre. While each track is powered by a her country-tinged strumming guitar, the backing band brings a layered and vital energy that’s nothing short of electric.

In thirty-five packed minutes, Jade conjures up favourable comparisons to a host of wonderful artists. Alanis Morissette is here, especially in the rocking Uh Huh and the quirky Love Has All Been Done Before. There’s Patti Smith, there’s Joni Mitchell, there’s even Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos. Jade channels Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain in songs like Lottery and Good At It. Going Gone is pure Carrie Underwood, and Endboss Dolly Parton makes her influence apparent in the opener Ruins, the closer If I Die, and many a song in between.

You could chose six or seven songs off this accomplished release with legitimate standout aspirations, but at this moment I’m high on I Get No Joy, with its wonderful vocal display and driving chorus. Tomorrow? It’ll be something different.

Jade Bird has all the makings of a superstar. That such a delightful dose of Americana came from a twenty-three-year-old from Northumberland frankly beggars belief. This album gets an 8/10, and it’s a strong eight at that.

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