Sweetwater

Sweetwater

4.5 2
by Tres Chicas
     
 

Tres Chicas joins the talents of four highly musical individuals: Whiskeytown alum Caitlin Cary, Hazeldine's Tonya Lamm, and Glory Fountain's Lynn Blakey -- who comprise the group -- and alt-rock pioneer Chris Stamey, who…  See more details below

Overview

Tres Chicas joins the talents of four highly musical individuals: Whiskeytown alum Caitlin Cary, Hazeldine's Tonya Lamm, and Glory Fountain's Lynn Blakey -- who comprise the group -- and alt-rock pioneer Chris Stamey, who produced this debut disc. Fans of the Chicas will hear echoes of their musical affiliations in the original songs, while Stamey's arrangements, not surprisingly, often edge into roots-rock territory, as on "Desire," which expresses yearning for a feckless lover ("Well, Trying's been out of the country / and I can't reach Hoping at all"). Musically, the tune suggests Dylan in country mode, with a soft organ bed, a churchy piano interjection, pedal steel, twanging electric guitar, and Cary's pining fiddle solos. On a cover of Loretta Lynn's "Deep as Your Pocket," a stomping beat, a fuzzed-out bass, and Stamey's stinging electric guitar retorts support the Chicas' tight, bluesy harmonizing. But Stamey knows when to pull back on the reins, too. The distorted guitar on "Heartbeat" is a discreet bit of ballast that drops away to let the gals sing plaintively against a pulsing drumbeat, before rising once again to drive home the sentiments in the chorus. Cary's sorrowful vocal carries a heart-wrenching take on Lucinda Williams's "Am I Too Blue," with the minimalist instrumental backing of bluegrass outfit Chatham County Line. A generally somber affair about love gone sour, Sweetwater closes on a rousing note: a bluegrass rave-up on George Jones's "Take the Devil out of Me," a jubilant, energizing sign-off on an album that is one of the unexpected delights of 2004. Mas Chicas, por favor!

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/29/2004
Label:
Yep Roc Records
UPC:
0634457205628
catalogNumber:
2056
Rank:
137699

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tres Chicas   Primary Artist
Chris Stamey   Guitar,Electric Bass
Dave Wilson   Guitar,Group Member
Lynn Blakey   Guitar,Vocals
Caitlin Cary   Violin,Vocals
Jen Gunderman   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Michael Krause   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Greg Readling   Bass,Group Member
Aaron Oliva   Bowed Bass
Skillet Gilmore   Percussion,Drums
John Teer   Mandolin,Group Member
Chandler Holt   Banjo,Group Member
Tonya Lamm   Guitar,Vocals
Clay Merritt   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

George Jones   Composer
Loretta Lynn   Composer
Lucinda Williams   Composer
Chris Stamey   Composer,Producer
Lynn Blakey   Composer
Brent Lambert   Mastering
Mike Daly   Composer
Caitlin Cary   Composer
Mary Gunn   Graphic Design
Anne Tkach   Composer
Shawn Barton   Composer
Tonya Lamm   Composer
David Menconi   Liner Notes

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Customer Reviews

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Sweetwater 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though they've been singing together for five years, this trio of alt.country/rock vocalists (Caitlin Cary of Whiskeytown, Lynn Blakey of Let's Active and Glory Fountain, and Tonya Lamm of Hazeldine) has only recently found their way to a commercial release - and its completeness is stunning. The ease with which their voices fit together brings to mind the sort of harmony found by CS&N, with leads slipping seamlessly from one vocalist to another. Imagine what Kelly Willis would sound like if she had two equally strong singers with whom to trade verses and backings, or if the Dixie Chicks' image wasn't so glammed up and their vocals not so fully dominated by Natalie Maines. ¶ Better yet, all tres of the Chicas write, apart and together, providing a disc full of songs that match up to their finely selected covers of Lucinda Williams' "Am I Too Blue," Loretta Lynn's "Deep as Your Pocket," and George Jones' "Take the Devil Out of Me." Particularly fetching originals include Blakey's country rock title tune, Cary's waltz-time "Desire," and the group-written "When Was the Last Time." Chris Stamey's production is typically uncluttered and elegant, putting the focus on the voices, with dabs of instrumental talent from the group and selected guests. Tres Chicas' debut not only captures their musical harmony, but their deep personal friendships. Such kinship (rather than just group membership) is rare to begin with, but connecting it to a studio recording - and on a debut! - is a feat accomplished by just a lucky and talented few.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great album. A must have for any alt country fan...or anyone who just enjoys great music.