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American country music inspires Brit Jade Bird

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Londoner Jade Bird’s debut EP is called “Something American.” (Courtesy Shervin Lainez)
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British singer Jade Bird understands that there’s a hickory wind blowing through her debut Glassnote EP titled “Something American,” and its gently jangling single “Cathedral.” But the 20-year-old can’t help herself. As a globe-trotting army brat, she fell in love with American country music, then America itself, when she recorded in an upstate New York studio with The Felice Brothers’ Simone Felice. “It’s a pretty weird connection, I know,” she admits.

How did you get into Nashville sounds over there?

Basically, when I first picked up guitar at 12 or 13, I really got into Neil Young and all that. But then when I was 15, I remember stumbling across The Civil Wars, and I started just re-evaluating everything, really. It was just their songwriting and their chemistry, I think — that’s how I really got into country and Americana. And then I kept on doing my research for a couple of years, just to learn a bit more. I even watched “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and I was just completely inspired by females in country music and how strong they are. I don’t think people have given those women enough credit for just how strong they really are.

Had you ever been to the U.S. before recording your EP in Rhinebeck?

No. It was the first time, and I was staying right next to Woodstock. And my first impression of America was, “This is unbelievable!” We touched down and I met Simone Felice, and he is just such a spiritually in-tune guy, but also very down to earth. I felt like we really made that connection, which allowed us to work really closely, as well. And I am young, it’s true. But I have worked really hard, and I’m really straightforward, so I felt like we really bonded on that, too. And I’m never too moved by landscape. In my songwriting, I’m more of a people person, more emotional. But the landscapes that I saw in New York were just so incredible and moving. It was fall then, the trees were changing color, and it was literally the most magical place.

What were your biggest U.S. culture shocks?

New York City was very busy, very in your face, and it surprised me that you can feel so isolated in such a crowded city. But L.A. was a big culture shock because you think of it as being so cool, but we went for a drive through the desert and ended up in this ghost town where we didn’t see a soul. We stopped at this desolate gas station, and I must’ve been the first British person this attendant had seen in a very long time.

IF YOU GO

Son Little, with Jade Bird
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8
Tickets: $15
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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