UK Singer-Songwriter Wanders Through The UK And The USA.
by Gary Stoller, Forbes, 13.11.22
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.