Since forming in 1999, Tres Chicas have had to work around the very busy schedules of its three principal members to find time to play the occasional gig. Now Caitlin Cary (ex-Whiskeytown), Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain) and Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine) have decided to put their sweetly harmonizing side project on the front burner. The results on Sweetwater are wonderfully sublime. But while their pretty voices would sound great together singing sugary fluff, these songs often betray a dark or bittersweet edge that ultimately stays with you a lot longer.
A couple of Blakey-penned tunes kick things off. The title track soars on Cary’s fiddle. “I’ll remember me, I am the girl of my dreams / But it was so sweet, how easily you untangled me,” Blakey sings.
Lamm offers the pretty “When You Sleep” and “Foot of the Bed.” “You took one part of me / It’s the only piece that I really need,” she sings on the latter.
And Cary contributes the gently swaying “Desire” on which yearning emotions become personified. “Well Trying’s been out of the country / And I can’t reach Hoping at all / I put in a good word with Dignity / So maybe he’ll give me a call,” she sings. The Cary/Lamm co-write “In A While” is reprised from Cary’s last solo disc, I’m Staying Out.
The trio also trade lines on the Loretta Lynn tune “Deep As Your Pocket” as producer Chris Stamey provides some nice lead guitar. They tackle “Am I Too Blue,” still one of Lucinda Williams’ prettiest songs if you ask me. And the set closing cover of George Jones’ “Take the Devil Out of Me” sounds like the perfect communal sharing of song.
Tres Chicas clearly enjoy singing and playing together and we’re fortunate they took the time to get together and make Sweetwater happen.