The South Meets Britain: Jade Bird Drops In On Deep Ellum, Texas KXT spent two days with the British-born singer-songwriter as she explored the historic entertainment district east of downtown Dallas.
NPR logo The South Meets Britain: Jade Bird Drops In On Deep Ellum, Texas

The South Meets Britain: Jade Bird Drops In On Deep Ellum, Texas

Jade Bird in front of a mural in the entertainment district of Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas. Austin Roa /VuHaus hide caption

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Austin Roa /VuHaus

Jade Bird in front of a mural in the entertainment district of Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas.

Austin Roa /VuHaus

Jade stops by the 24-hour cafe Buzzbrews in Deep Ellum for some pancakes before her show. "We're very into home-cooked meals back home: Shepherd's pie, mashed potatoes or roast dinners," says the London-based artist. When asked about the most popular late-night snack in London, Jade says, "curries and kabobs are quite popular." VuHaus hide caption

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Jade stops by the 24-hour cafe Buzzbrews in Deep Ellum for some pancakes before her show. "We're very into home-cooked meals back home: Shepherd's pie, mashed potatoes or roast dinners," says the London-based artist. When asked about the most popular late-night snack in London, Jade says, "curries and kabobs are quite popular."

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North Texas is steeped in music history. In the 1920s and '30s, Dallas' Deep Ellum neighborhood was renowned for its blues scene, with artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson treating the neighborhood as their musical playground. By the '80s, Deep Ellum was burgeoning with punk; in the '90s, all eyes were on Deep Ellum as local artists like the Old 97's, Erykah Badu, Toadies, Tripping Daisy and Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians all put North Texas on the map.

Today, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (or D-FW, as it's known to locals) is thriving with talent, its most recent claim to fame being artists like Leon Bridges and St. Vincent. Just three hours north of Austin, Dallas is a regular stop along any artist's tour, and this was the case recently with Slingshot artist Jade Bird. KXT spent two days with the young singer-songwriter while she explored all that Deep Ellum has to offer. She even stopped by Good Records in northeast Dallas for a special Record Store Day performance.

Jade Bird stopped by Good Records on Record Store Day 2018. David R Wilson/VuHaus hide caption

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Jade Bird stopped by Good Records on Record Store Day 2018.

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David R Wilson/VuHaus
Jade Bird performs a set at Good Records in Dallas' Lower Greenville neighborhood.
David R Wilson/VuHaus

On Record Store Day 2018, fans of all ages watch Jade Bird's set at Good Records in Dallas' Lower Greenville neighborhood. The store is co-owned by Tim DeLaughter, singer for the Dallas-based bands Tripping Daisy and Polyphonic Spree. Established and emerging artists filter in throughout the day for intimate in-store performances.

Armored in a stellar red jumpsuit and Converse, Jade Bird wows the crowd at Dallas' Club Dada in Deep Ellum. She'll return to Dallas for KXT's signature concert series KXT Sun Sets on June 19. VuHaus hide caption

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Armored in a stellar red jumpsuit and Converse, Jade Bird wows the crowd at Dallas' Club Dada in Deep Ellum. She'll return to Dallas for KXT's signature concert series KXT Sun Sets on June 19.

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Austin Roa /VuHaus
Jade Bird shuffles through a record bin in Deep Ellum, Dallas.
Austin Roa /VuHaus

Jade swings by local soda pop and candy shop Rocket Fizz for a sugary pre-concert pick-me-up. VuHaus hide caption

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Jade swings by local soda pop and candy shop Rocket Fizz for a sugary pre-concert pick-me-up.

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As any music enthusiast would do, Jade spots a crate full of records outside a Deep Ellum shop and stops to shuffle through the dollar bin. "Favorite records at the moment on tour: Aretha Franklin at the Fillmore West. I love that record. The majority is made up of covers, but there's something so special about how she takes each cover and makes it completely her own."

Jade says she also finds herself listening to a lot of Elliott Smith on the road. "Figure 8: I've just been obsessed. I think my favorite lyric is probably, 'If patience started a band, I'd be her biggest fan.'"

She says Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Henry Mancini and the Felice Brothers also serve as the soundtrack to long drives on tour.

Courtesy of the artist
With good food, live music and an abundance of colorful art murals, Deep Ellum brings out all sorts of smiles from Dallasites and visitors alike.
Courtesy of the artist

With good food, live music and an abundance of colorful art murals, Deep Ellum brings out all sorts of smiles from Dallasites and visitors alike.