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Album Review

Sweetwater is Tres Chicas' recorded debut, but it's not like they're new at this. Old pals from the Raleigh, NC, area, Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine), and Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain) finally found some time to record a batch of their own harmony-twined songs, and juice the set with a few covers. Appropriately, it's their voices that lead listeners to Sweetwater — they mesh effortlessly if need be, but are also careful supporters of each lead vocal turn. Songwriting is divvied as democratically, and draws on the varying country, folk, and rock styles that the three have explored. Now, this isn't the Thorns. Tres Chicas aren't trying to wow listeners with technically pristine tributes to classic rock. Perhaps because of its light harmonies and gentle acoustics, Sweetwater occasionally treads water in some more placid eddies. But Chris Stamey's typically offhanded production always keeps it home-soundproofing casual, and well-placed augmentation — a bowed bass here, a mandolin there; the easy turns of a full-complement Chatham County Line on Lucinda Williams' "Am I Too Blue" — keeps things moving along at a warm evening pace. The opening title track and "Heartbeat" — both from Blakey's pen — are subtly powerful reconstructions of country and rock elements, while "Desire"'s clever wordplay is heightened by twangy lead guitar, Cary's fiddle, and a cool torch song break. "When Was the Last Time," with its plaintive piano and gorgeously shifting harmonies, is a definite highlight, and the fun Loretta Lynn cover "Deep As Your Pocket" finds the three friends trading brassy lines over Stamey's chattering, fuzzy guitar. As casual as it wants to be but never more than a bend away from gorgeous, Sweetwater is as enjoyable a listen as it undoubtedly was to make.


Formed: 1999 in Raleigh, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

The women of alternative country trio Tres Chicas first came together through friendship and a mutual respect for each other's singing in early 1999. Accomplished musicians and friends through the years, Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain, Let's Active, Oh-OK), Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), and Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine) comprise the Raleigh, NC-based group whose music combines sweet vocal harmonies with elements of country, folk, and rock. They first sang together publicly during a late-night spontaneous singalong...
Full bio
Sweetwater, Tres Chicas
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