Hummingbird Hotel’s debut single has us hooked

Many a successful musical syndicate has been birthed from members of previously established groups by combining variable dynamics. Usually in such a diversifying process, an entirely new level of sophistication and sound is generated for already existing fans. A prime example is The Postal Service project from lead singer Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie. Others are The Raconteurs, Queens of the Stone Age, Audioslave, Foo Fighters and the list continues all along through the history of modern music. Hummingbird Hotel is one such alliance.

The two poetic songbirds joined forces in the past few months to release a much anticipated debut single out on iTunes …

Megan Combs has always rocked the stage as a folksy solo chanteuse; for nearly 15 years, David Ornelas has headlined as the lead singer of world music sensation Stranger out of Chula Vista. The two poetic songbirds joined forces in the past few months to release a much anticipated debut single out on iTunes this week entitled “Can’t Say”, with fans overflowing with curiosity as to what kind of attitude, even genre, the new coalition would broadcast.

As one could expect from Combs’ previous work, the first single was acoustic, folk-based and full of word play. Also similar was the forlorn tonality – an entity generally foreign from the uplifting innuendos on Ornelas’ musical resume. However, Ornelas balances Combs' operatic vocals with such smooth harmonies, it’s as if Jack Johnson were to collaborate with Kate Earl or Norah Jones to make an album to drink wine to.  The song’s content revolves around resisting the dependency a relationship brings to the table and not being able to say “goodbye”. In theory, it’s smarter to solely engage in one night stands and “see what it’s like to quit” before the going gets too tough – to get high off “one last hit” of the love drug and bail in the night – than to become vulnerable. However, even though our “heart is set to fight or flight”, like our impulses for survival, sometimes our emotions will override our fear in order to let the good times roll. Combs and Ornelas cleverly conclude the song with physically not being able to articulate the last “goodbye” in the procession. Which works out well for the listener, for the last thing they want to do after hearing this crafty new single is to check out early from the Hummingbird Hotel.

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