Jade Bird has been getting boisterous acclaim from music press on both sides of the pond between England and America. The 19-year-old could hardly know that “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has cultivated a remarkable reputation and following as a premiere showcase for artists across genres and generations. Jade Bird joined the auspicious company of John Moreland and Jason Isbell, considered two of America's greatest living songwriters in this era, when she took the stage to close the night on October 10, under the glow of a most prestigious spotlight.

This was not just a prized performance for Jade Bird, and not just her first time to encounter Stephen Colbert, the host who takes to music as ferociously as he does to political barbecuing.

This was the Jade Bird’s national TV debut, and despite her slight physical frame, the singer and her song blazed a memory in white into American musical consciousness.

From behind to center stage

Jade Bird was shown as just a blurred figure from behind before the first notes of her song “Cathedral” were strummed. Her simple attire in a white blouse and fitted pants put greater emphasis on her lyrics and the mood of the ballad of forever love that detoured down the wrong path. Singing of the promise “to love till we die” and her own vow to never leave her lover behind, she comes to the point of confession in the song, “I've seen the light.” There are times when departure is the only way to alleviate doom and heartbreak in some relationships, even if only one lover can perceive that fate. This is an anthem of an ultimate female decision, and Jade Bird’s swaying red hair and lilting voice left the audience in rapture.

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Onward through America

Jade Bird comes to her sense of female independence quite naturally. Born an Army “brat” in Hexham, UK, her independent spirit was fostered by her mother and grandmother, who raised her through the military rigors of moves through South Wales, Germany, and Chesterfield. She valued the example of strong working women before her eyes, and later embraced the same independence it artistry, through the influence of Patti Smith and Loretta Lynn.

Something American” is the title of the EP that Jade Bird released in July, and selections from the collection have gained a following and steady rotation on Americana radio. High praise has also been bestowed by Amazon listeners. Jade Bird has a reverent appreciation for the spirit that rises from roots and rust to carve out life. There are tinges of her hometown accent, but her compositions, like “What Am I Here For” leave any lesser longing for the deeper themes. Her cover version of “Grinnin’ in Your Face” by Son House was released as a music video just days ago.

The effort also has the production skills of Simone Felice, whose deft touch has yielded the best from The Lumineers and Conor Oberst. B

Jade Bird has her own band now, backing her onstage, and she takes to the road October 14 in Austin, with 17 dates winding from California to Minnesota and Canada. Her first two shows in Texas pair her with First Aid Kit and Son Little. Now that all of America has heard Jade Bird, it's time to listen up close and personal.