Hummingbird Tougher Than Love Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Each song is a tightly structured, well-performed example of melodic modern country.

Chris White 2007

Named after a guitar belonging to Emmylou Harris, Hummingbird are three young, photogenic English female singer-songwriters who look and sound like they were brought together by some aspiring svengali seeking to create a transatlantic answer to The Dixie Chicks.

Formed in late 2005, the trio – Cathy Burton, Edwina Hayes and Amy Wadge - were all established solo artists on the domestic folk circuit before deciding to work together and Tougher Than Love is certainly a confident debut. Each song is a tightly structured, well-performed example of melodic modern country, featuring impeccable vocal harmonies, rootsy acoustic arrangements and simple, clear production.

The template is set by jaunty opener "Sing Me A Lullaby" – an instantly catchy little ditty featuring bouncy bass, twinkling mandolin and an uplifting, heartfelt chorus. Most of what follows is similarly likeable but slight, although penultimate track "Too Many Lonely People" manages to rise above some comically bad lyrics (‘God bless the man who invented the wheel, he made the world a little smaller’) and build into soaring, string-laden tear jerker guaranteed to make the line dancers pause for a moment to reach for their Confederate flag handkerchiefs.

With decent marketing and generous airplay, there’s no reason why Hummingbird cannot carve out a profitable niche among Radio 2 listeners seeking a straightforward, updated alternative to Dolly Parton and her ilk. Indeed, had the girls been brought up in Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina rather than Lancashire, Avon and Sussex then they could have been absolutely huge. But in a sceptical Britain that generally still doesn’t get country, it’s a fair bet that superstardom will probably elude them.

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