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Metronome Magazine

 Hummingbird Syndicate is a super group of sorts that features a cast of well known East coast music veterans, all who add their significant talents to this meticulously crafted album.

Opening with the 60’s influenced song “Romance,” cleverly laced with names and song titles from that memorable space in time, you know you’re in for a very special listening experience from the album’s offerings that follow. What’s most notable about Hummingbird Syndicate is their beautifully crafted vocal harmonies that blend seamlessly together track after glorious track into the stellar bed of musical accompaniment posed by each band member.

Tracks of note that will garner plenty of local and national airplay include the album opener, “Romance,” the breathtaking “(You Don’t Know) Much About Me,” the pragmatic “Sometimes It Just Gets This Way,” the blessed “Vista,” the Byrds-like jangle of “Another Wait and See Night,” the Tom Petty infused “Haley,” and the B-52’s induced head shaker, “Guitar Star.”

On Pop Tricks, Jon Macey, Lynn Shipley and company have struck gold with the finest sounding record we’ve heard in some time. Outstanding!

 

TMRZoo

The members of Hummingbird Syndicate are a pure pop collective and their opening track to the Pop Tricks album, “Romance,” is as sweet a confection as you’ll find.   Lynn Shipley as creative partner helps bring the harmonies and melodies in sync with the lyrics, and they generate a full and entertaining sound. Seven of the dozen songs are under four minutes, which makes for extended play when it comes to a serious and happily light-hearted outfit whose CD Baby page declares proudly  “ABBA meets the Ramones, Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris… Mamas & Papas sing the Velvets” and it’s so true, with the Abba leanings geared towards Don Kirshner pop.   “You Don’t Know (Much About Me) wander into territory owned by The Band with Marianne Faithful on vocals, splendid guitars bring it all to life in a wonderful way. Modern rock mixed with the long-established sounds these performers and recording artists have developed can shape-shift and blend in the communal spirit that their name indicates.  An ensemble that has delivered music distinctly different from anything on the New England music scene, a wonderful invention of multiple chefs drawing from the same palette in unison, never stepping on anyone else’s space.   Remarkable.
CLICK HYPERLINK FOR FULL REVIEW 

The Noise

 The pop/ rock music is mostly influenced by folk and country; the jingly jangle guitars come from The Byrds and the delivery and messages strongly suggest Dylan. The lovely lush four part harmonies everywhere hint at Americana.  I really dig how the lead vocals are shared between Jon and Lynn. This changes the whole message and performance and balance of the band; and makes their whole vintage power pop persona both more interesting and with a softer side.   Click hyperlink for full review.

The Second Disc

"Waterfall Away," a male-female duet by Hummingbird Syndicate, contains a jangle-rock melody with harmonies as cascading and beautiful as its title.   

Boston Groupie News

 They mine the sounds of the sixties. The impeccable recordings match the detail written songs.

  Waterfall Away is pure sunshine pop. The opening 12 string guitar line makes you think of the Byrds. The song goes through subtle variations. For the listener it’s a treat to catch the different settings; changing vocal line ups and harmonies . Instrumentally the bass carries the song along as the guitars give the texture. In the end I’m reminded of the Buffalo Springfield whose songs went through similar paces. There’s a lot of writing going on for a three and half minute song.

    In I Want You To Stay the drums and bass lead you into the song, then Lynn Shipley takes the lead vocal. Two overlapping guitar lines going on in the solo section is a great idea not often done. At the end of the solo the guitars sit on one note that carries for half a minute with vocals over it until it finally breaks. That feeling of tension and relief gives the song drama. Click hyperlink for full review. 

 

 

The Noise

 Melodicism, finely honed orchestration, and stellar arrangements all abound, particularly on the first three tracks. True to the title, there is an undoubted pop vibe which is expressed through various influences; i.e., the traditional sad ballad (“Vista”); gentle ’70s-era singer-songwriter compositions (“Another Wait and See Night”); bright California jangle pop (“Time For the Show”); elegiac Eagles-style soft rock (“Aeroplane Baby”), and even rollicking rockabilly-inflected new-wave (“Guitar Star”).   Click hyperlink for full review.

Boston Groupie News

At the center of the group is the Jon Macey and Lynn Shipley writing team. Couple that with their performing chops and that’s a big jump start to any project. The rest of the band are top notch players who all play with subtlety. Everything is nice and tidy. It’s a pristine recording. The first song “Romance” name checks 60’s song lyrics. Right after that Stephen Foster takes you into the heartland with a bit of the Americana sound. Vista is in the same vein.  “Sometimes It Just Gets This Way” is one of the pop gems. You can see the benefits of the Shipley/Macey team with the back and forth between their vocal lines. They wait for the penultimate song “Guitar Star” to rock it up. Then they put it in relief with “Clever and Astute” where Jon starts by whispering the lyrics. It’s has an intimate atmosphere. It makes you want to curl up in the speaker cabinet as Shipley takes over and offers, “If you have any time, I can spare a few moments of mine”. It’s so wistful. If you stop and give it attention it will capture you.

Live Hummingbird Syndicate go even wider musically afield. It feels like this CD is just the first step for this gang.

Click link for full review.

Boston Groupie News

The Hummingbird Syndicate bring the unabashed wide range pop. The swelter in the room suddenly finds a breeze. The harmonies float like, ok, say it, birds. Jon Macey’s and Lynn Shipley’s vocals are a fine concoction. Macey’s guitar work abetted by the tight rhythm section keep the center solid. Jim Melanson ups the tasty rock quotient. 

The Noise

In A Pig’s Eye, Salem, MA  5/7/16

I’m told Hummingbird Syndicate has core members and side members that play their folk/ rock when they are available. Tonight Steve Gilligan (The Stompers) plays mandolin, Chris Maclachlan (Human Sexual Response) is on bass, Tom Hostage (Macey’s Parade) twangs the lead guitar, and Lenny Shea (The Stompers) is on drums. Jon and Steve start the set with “Everything Under the Sun” and I’m immediately brought back to the days when these two played in Urban Caravan.  After the song Chris picks up the bass and Lynn start in on Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” Now the room is bopping through the B-side of Hummingbird Syndicate’s single “I Want You to Stay” penned by the band’s writers and producers, Jon and Lynn. Terry Brenner, the venue hosts, gets some people up and dancing while Jon and Steve croon together in Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” from Highway 61.  Then they’re back into another original, “Sometimes It Just Gets This Way,” and I can hear Tom Petty choosing to cover it. The band perks up with “Okie From Muskogee,” reminding me that earlier today I heard someone on NPR’s Car Talk calling in from that well known conservative town. Jon mentions seeing the song’s author, Merle Haggard, perform live. Hummingbird Syndicate bounces over to David Bowie’s  “Queen Bitch” and flavor it with a little Dylan and The Modern Lovers.  Lynn introduces “Much About Me” and Terry Brenner asks me if it’s and original (yes, it is – soon to be on their CD). Jon leads on the Grass Root’s 1966 hit, “Where Were You When I Needed You.” Delicate acoustic guitar starts off “Vista,” another original with Lynn singing lead and it’s also going to be on the band’s upcoming CD. They end the second set with a cover of Richard Thompson’s “Keep You Distance” and the harmonies ring through my head. Hummingbird Syndicate is a fresh now outfit for you to check out this summer. (T Max)

 

The Metrowest Daily News

These Hummingbirds can really sing (and play)

The story of Hummingbird Syndicate starts with two people on two different musical roads – Boston’s Jon Macey, the singer-guitarist who’s fronted rock bands including Fox Pass, Macey’s Parade, and the Bittersweets; and Indiana native Lynn Shipley, who played bass and sang in some art rock-punk rock bands back home before moving to Boston in the early ’80s, and eventually walking away from music. They’re about to do a gig with their new seven-piece band Hummingbird Syndicate at Amazing Things in Framingham. But their paths first crossed at the Middle East in Cambridge about eight years ago when they were introduced by a mutual friend who said to Macey, “I want you to meet my friend Lynn Shipley; she’s the real thing.”

“Jon and I looked at each other and said, ‘What the hell does THAT mean,'” remembered Shipley, who lives in Lynn, recently. But they quickly got into a conversation. Waltham-based Macey recalled that it was about the late country singer-songwriter Charlie Louvin.“Charlie had made a comeback album with all kinds of people on it, like Elvis Costello,” said Macey. “I mentioned the album, and Lynn said she had it, and I was kind of stunned. That’s how we started talking.”  It wasn’t long before they started working together.

“A couple of months after we met, I was talking to Lynn on the phone,” said Macey. “One of us made some crack and I said, ‘Well that sounds like a line from a song, so why don’t you write it.’ She had been writing poetry, and she came back with around 10 verses. I ended up picking two of the verses, and we wrote our first song together.” They played for a while in the short-lived quintet Adam & Eve, and that led to the new band, the idea of which came out of Macey’s experience with an entourage of local bands that got together at different venues under the moniker of the Urban Caravan.  “That was a bunch of different bands and different songwriters,” said Macey. “With Hummingbird Syndicate, Lynn and I are the songwriting core, we produce, and we gather together a bunch of our favorite musicians, then make records and play shows.”

 While an album is currently in the works, the group’s first single is all about pop. There’s the jangly, hook-filled, guitar-driven “I Want You to Stay,” and the harmony-drenched “Waterfall Away,” both of which would have had plenty of airplay on any Top-40 radio station of the ’60s.

So where did the band’s name come from?

 “We were getting together to write songs,” said Macey. “We met in Boston and pulled into a parking lot, and next to us was a tractor trailer truck, and on the side of it was written Hummingbird Syndicate.”  “The truck was baby blue, and the words were written in a beautiful scroll,” said Shipley.  “We had been talking about doing this new band, but we needed a name,” said Macey. “And there it was on the side of a truck.”  “It was such a beautiful name, I figured somebody was using it or recording under it,” said Shipley. “So I Googled it and I found only one reference, and it was connected to the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources. The Hummingbird Syndicate is a group of unnamed people who own the rights to several unopened gold mines. We don’t know why that truck was in Boston.”

 At Amazing Things, the band – in acoustic mode – will include Macey on guitar and vocals, Shipley on vocals, Steve Gilligan playing mandolin and singing, Tom Hostage on guitar, drummer Lenny Shea, Chris Maclachlan on upright bass and Jennifer Lewis Bennett on vocals.  “We’ll be playing some of the songs that will be on the album,” said Macey, “and we like to do oddball covers. We’ve recently been doing The Monkees’ ‘Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow.’”

 

 

The Patriot Ledger

Hummingbird Syndicate: folk-rock, pop, and vocal contrasts

Jon Macey is at a point in his life and musical career where he wants to do exactly what pleases him the most, which is how, in kind of a roundabout, somewhat spontaneous way, Hummingbird Syndicate became a group. Macey and Hummingbird Syndicate have just released their eponymous debut album, and a seven-piece version of the band will be performing at Sally O'Brien's in Somerville on Saturday night.

 

The Noise

HUMMINGBIRD SYNDICATE 

“Waterfall Away”/”I Want You to Stay”

2 tracks

This Boston/LA combo delivers a delightfully chirpy-cheepy bit of countrified bubblegum on their debut single. Both sides infuse the warm melodies of the Beach Boys with chewy hooks of the Brill building. Sure it’s retro, and like all sunshine pop, there’s an underlying hint of Laurel Canyon-esque death-cult dread billowing through the grooves, but that only sweetens the deal, really. For the most part, it’s all popsicles on a bright summery day. As you might have gathered from their name, the Syndicate is more of a liquid gang than a band so who knows what they might do next, but if you’ve wondered what it might be like to breathe in the dry Californian air in 1968, this single might be your best bet.  (Sleazegrinder)

Boston Groupie News

There are six members of the group and they all are top notch players. You just sit back and enjoy how they deliver the songs. Most of the material came from their excellent new CD Pop Tricks....Macey knows all the pop tricks and you hear them in every song. One revealing moment was from comparing two songs in a row. The first was "Where Were You When I Needed You” the Grassroots hit from 1966. They cover it faithfully and revel in those harmonies with the three vocalists. They then did "Romance" the first cut from the CD. That song compared equally with the Grassroots. In both songs you know you are being moved by the song craft. The sweet vocals sweep you up because the lyrics are worthy and the melody is an earworm.  They kept things interesting with a cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine” sing by Lynn Shipley. One interesting thing about the Syndicate is that they are capable of handling songs from multiple genres with authority.

Click hyperlink for full review.

Metronome Magazine

Hummingbird Syndicate 2-Song CD

  • WATERFALL AWAY
  • I WANT YOU TO STAY

Hummingbird Syndicate is the latest band collaboration by singer-songwriter-guitarist Jon Macey, Singer-songwriter Lynn Shipley and drummer Lenny Shea along with singer Mary Jaye Simms, singer-guitarist Dan Coughlin and bassist Chris MacLachlan. Think of The Byrds, The Hollies and Jefferson Airplane and you’ve got an idea where this excellent group of talented veterans is coming from.

Jangling, psychedelic induced melodies abound punctuated by superb musical accompaniment and tasteful band backing vocals on both tracks while Macey and Shipley share lead vocal chores- Macey on “Waterfall Away” and Shipley on “I Want You To Stay.” This superb sampler is going to wanting you yearning for more… guaranteed. 

The Noise

HUMMINGBIRD SYNDICATE

Hibernian Hall, Watertown, MA

11/21/15

Sometimes there’s a great notion to create a multi-purpose band that features sympathetic talents. As long as there are people that like to sing and send words into other ears, there will be a band that is required to have lived with the past to reaffirm their influences and still stay focused on creating modern music. Let’s say hello to Hummingbird Syndicate, featuring local luminaries Jon Macey (Fox Pass), Lynn Shipley (Adam & Eve), Chris Maclachlan (Human Sexual Response), Lenny Shea (The Stompers), and two Californian folks I don’t know, Mary Jaye Simms and Dan Coughlin (Children of Paradise) who are not here tonight, being replaced by Tom Hostage (Macey’s Parade) and Rich Lamphear and Linda Viens (Kingdom of Love) and additional singer Jennifer Lewis Bennett.

The Syndicate is built around an equal partnership of men and women with their merger of voices and three guitars. It’s a lot of wonderful songs with a guitar solo here and there, and a vibe that’s both sprightly and distinctly beautiful. For me, it feels like this group is bringing back the ’60s (in sound and spirit). Right out of the gate, we have pop for pop’s sake with upbeat melodies and lots of harmony. It is unusual to hear such a high concentration of covers (Monkees, Velvets, The Band, Dylan, Johnny Rivers, Grass Roots, Lefty Frizzell, Gene Clark, Flying Burritos, Ernest Tubb, lots of country/folk) amidst a handful of originals, but I guess that will change in time. The focus tonight is the release of their single, “Waterfall Away” b/w “I Want You to stay,” two lightweight retro-sunshine-pop tunes (which they play in both sets). They promise the imminent full album will include more pop, as well as moody tunes and non-pop stuff. Since this is only their first gig, we can only wish for more of their best. Good luck!   (Harry C. Tuniese)

 

Boston Groupie News

We still care about the vinyl. It’s rarer these days but groups still do it and we love it. This week we got Jon Macey’s newest project the Hummingbird Syndicate 45 RPM. It’s a gorgeous 60’s flashback. It’s a guitar soundfest. He has two guitars soloing at the same time on I Want You to Stay. The vocals are undeniably great. Waterfall Away has the 12 strings ringing. 

Post

Listening now - wow, what a band! All my favorite people!! And the tracks sound great.  I'll talk this up at WMBR, tho I suspect it will need no talking-up!! Congrats. (Needs more flute, tho!!!)

 

Amazon

Found Hummingbird Syndicate through this blog! Love the 60’s vibe with the harmonies and if I’m not mistaken they are using a Rickenbacker guitar on their song “waterfall away”. Love it!

 

Amazon

Great song! Really catchy tune. The kind you want to listen to again and again.

Boston Groupie News

At the center of the group is the Jon Macey and Lynn Shipley writing team. Couple that with their performing chops and that’s a big jump start to any project. The rest of the band are top notch players who all play with subtlety. Everything is nice and tidy. It’s a pristine recording. The first song “Romance” name checks 60’s song lyrics. Right after that Stephen Foster takes you into the heartland with a bit of the Americana sound. Vista is in the same vein.  “Sometimes It Just Gets This Way” is one of the pop gems. You can see the benefits of the Shipley/Macey team with the back and forth between their vocal lines. They wait for the penultimate song “Guitar Star” to rock it up. Then they put it in relief with “Clever and Astute” where Jon starts by whispering the lyrics. It’s has an intimate atmosphere. It makes you want to curl up in the speaker cabinet as Shipley takes over and offers, “If you have any time, I can spare a few moments of mine”. It’s so wistful. If you stop and give it attention it will capture you.

Live Hummingbird Syndicate go even wider musically afield. It feels like this CD is just the first step for this gang.

Click link for full review.

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