Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Trishas: "High, Wide & Handsome" (2012) CD Review

The Trishas are four female singer/songwriters with gorgeous voices and tremendous songwriting ability. In 2010, they released an EP titled They Call Us The Trishas, and now they are putting out their first full-length CD. Titled High, Wide & Handsome, this album is a good mix of folk, bluegrass and country, with each song having its own well defined sound. They're adept at marrying a sound with a lyric, so that they could get their intent across even if you somehow chose to ignore the lines. Individually, these singers have great, distinct and interesting voices; and then the real magic happens with they harmonize.

"Mother Of Invention"

High, Wide & Handsome opens with "Mother Of Invention," which is folk with a very positive vibe. It has the feel of old-time folk, in its sound and theme, and even with that loose back porch-type fiddle.  This song is sort of the title track, as the album title is in the lyrics: "High, wide and handsome/Taking pennies from the jar/In interesting conditions, you discover who you really are/who you really are." 

"Mother Of Invention" was written by Jamie Wilson and Natalie Hemby.


"Strangers" is a beautiful sad song with lyrics like "I miss the me I used to be/I miss the you that I once knew" and "Who are these strangers in our bed?"

The couple in this song have been friends, lovers, and married. We know this because of the image of the wedding photos on top of the television set. What a great way of revealing the most intimate of relationships - with a commonplace item from the past rather than directly with an emotionally charged line. So much sadder and distant, and in a way more poignant. You believe them when they sing, "There's nothing stranger/Than being strangers."

"Strangers" was written by Kelley Mickwee, Jamie Wilson and John Eddie. Savannah Welch sings lead on this one.

"Little Sweet Cigars"

"Little Sweet Cigars" has that great energy that reminds me of Laura Love. The way it's sung, and with that drumbeat, the song has a certain urgency. The chorus is, "And I could have told you, darlin', it would end up like this/When you're kissed by a fool, then you're fooled by a kiss/And I believed you, baby, and your silver, lying tongue/You were handsome and older, I was foolish and young."  And those "ahs" are gorgeous - they're so simple, but they really make the song.

"Little Sweet Cigars" was written by Jamie Wilson and Evan Felker.

"Looking At Me"

The first time I listened to this CD, "Looking At Me" is the song that really made me fall for them. It's a beautiful tune. Their voices make me feel like bursting (with a longing that is tangible, that is seated here next to me). And the lyrics are wonderful. Here is a taste: "Well, a fire burns slow if you know how to build it/The heat travels up from the ground toward the trees/And when the winds change, I know smoke follows beauty/I follow it up till it's you that I see/Oh, it's a shame, it's a shame/The last one to know is the first to complain/Oh, beware of the dark/For all of your secrets are shared with a spark."

And I love these lines: "And no matter the song, it's the blues that you sing/And sometimes I wish they were all about me."  This song also has an excellent moment where it builds and builds until the line "You can't hold me that tight," and there is a slight pause, before the mandolin comes in softly, and the vocals come back. It's beautiful. I just completely love this tune.

"Looking At Me" was written by Jamie Wilson, who also sings lead.

"One Down"

"One Down" is an interesting song, with a different, slightly darker feel than most of the songs before it on this album. This one really pulled me in and got under my skin.  It's due largely to their vocals, which really are impressive. There is a great (though short) section where their voices act as instruments, full of emotion without needing lyrics to express them. But then the lyrics too are interesting, like these lines: "If there's nothing left to lose/If there's nothing left to use/If there's nothing left to burn/Set yourself on fire." 

"One Down" was written by Kelley Mickwee and Brandy Zdan.  Kelley Mickwee sings lead.

"Cold Blooded Love"

"Cold Blooded Love" naturally follows the previous track, in its feel and because its first line is "With every gleam of light there comes a burning flame." This song has a sexy edge - it teases and taunts, with lines like "I may be satiated, but I still hunger for the taste/I quiver at your slightest touch, tremble like a child." And there is some wonderful work on fiddle. It's just an all-round great song. And I love the echo of "cold" - absolutely delicious. Their voices will seduce you.

Written by Liz Foster and Dustin Welch, "Cold Blooded Love" is one of the album's best tracks. Liz Foster sings lead on this one.

"Rainin' Inside"

The first line of "Rainin' Inside" is "Billie Holiday is killing me." A great opening line. This is a slower, bluesier tune, written by Kelley Mickwee and Kevin Welch.  (Kevin is Savannah's father.)

"John Wayne Cowboy"

"John Wayne Cowboy" is a seriously cool song with kind of a mean edge in that great repeated rhythmic guitar section. It then becomes more of a country tune.  This is another that has already claimed some space in my brain, and pops up throughout the day.  It was written by Jamie Wilson and Owen Temple.  Russ Pahl plays jaw harp on this track.

CD Track List
  1. Mother Of Invention
  2. Strangers
  3. Little Sweet Cigars
  4. Liars & Fools
  5. Cheater's Game
  6. Looking At Me
  7. Why
  8. Over Forgiving You
  9. One Down
  10. Cold Blooded Love
  11. Rainin' Inside
  12. The Fool
  13. John Wayne Cowboy
  14. Gold & Silver
Note: There is download card included in the packaging, to get access to a bonus track, "A Far Cry From You."


The Trishas are Jamie Wilson on vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo; Kelly Mickwee on vocals, mandolin and acoustic guitar; Liz Foster on vocals and harmonica; and Savannah Welch on vocals.

Joining them on this album are Kenny Vaughan on electric guitar and acoustic guitar; Harry Stinson on drums and percussion; Victor Krauss on electric bass and upright bass; Tammy Rogers on fiddle, mandolin and guitar; Russ Pahl on banjo, pedal steel, electric guitar, dobro and jaw harp; and Mike Poole on percussion.

High, Wide & Handsome is scheduled to be released on August 7, 2012.

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