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Jesse Harris, 'Hummingbird'

Beginning with a cold, shallow wash of percussion followed by soft, warm lines from his acoustic guitar, Jesse Harris sets a striking and spare tone for the cabaret dreamscape that follows in "Hummingbird," from the album Silver Balloon.

Through a smoky haze of half-remembrance, Harris coaxes us along his wobbling, shuffle-tempo jazz mutation. His voice, like a transmission through an old phone line, describes the encounter: "Like an angel you will fly away somewhere / In the sky somewhere and disappear / Before you sing me a song / Suddenly you are gone / Hummingbird were you even there?"

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Joe Kendrick