January 9, 2006


Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern produce in London

RALEIGH, N.C. – The chance union of Caitlin Cary, Tonya Lamm and Lynn Blakey as Tres Chicas resulted in a 2004 album, Sweetwater, widely hailed as one of that year’s strongest debuts. It was only supposed to be a side project for the three artists, but it took root in the hearts of many. On March 7, 2006, Tres Chicas will return with their second release, Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl, which expands the trio’s already formidable musical horizons. And it’s safe to say Tres Chias is no longer just a side project.

The album marks a change of producer from the venerated Chris Stamey to the crack U.K. production team of Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern. During the London sessions, Tres Chicas were joined by a host of notable guest musicians including fellow Yep Roc recording artists Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins, and the king of diesel country, Bill Kirchen, among others. The trio’s journey from their North Carolina home to collaborate with some of the most accomplished British aficionados of American music results in a virtually borderless Americana sound that’s resonant with humanity, wisdom, heart, and irresistible charm.

In addition to songs composed by the Chicas themselves, the record features a number penned by Geraint Watkins, a cover from 1960s country-pop legend Johnny Carver and the trio’s fellow Carolinians Lou Ford. The album’s effortless variety is paired with subtle intention. Each song is given its due in character, spirit, and musical innovation, something of a Tres Chicas trademark.

All of the threesome have notable careers that continue alongside Tres Chicas: Blakey is known for her work with Let’s Active and Oh Ok, and fronts the band Glory Fountain. Cary was an original member of the groundbreaking alternative country rock group Whiskeytown, and now enjoys a career as an acclaimed solo artist and duet partner with brethren Yep Roc artist Thad Cockrell. Tonya Lamm was a founding member of the band Hazeldine, which found favor as an indie act in the U.S. and won a major label deal and wide audience in Europe.

The making of Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl came about in a friendly fashion similar to the way the group itself was born. The trio met Neil Brockbank, who has worked with Nick Lowe, Geraint Watkins, Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry, at a show they played with Watkins in Raleigh, and yet another mutual admiration society was born. At the end of their 2005 European tour, Tres Chicas joined up with Brockbank and his production partner Robert Trehern — also known for his drumming with Lowe and Van Morrison, among others — at their London studio. What sprung from a chance encounter yielded a true meeting of the minds between the Chicas and the London band and producers, and the end result is what Brockbank calls “A new kind of music.”

You might guess that the title Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl refers to nicknames of the members, and in some ways it does: “We might each take one of those names at different times—they refer to emotions and different ways of being, and they all are universal,” says Cary. The title also refers to three songs on the album: Lynn Blakey wrote “All the Shade Trees in Bloom,” Caitlin contributed “Red,” and Geraint Watkins wrote “My Love,” in which Lamm sings the refrain, “I’m not Jesus Christ/I’m just an ordinary girl.”

“Everything that has happened to us has seemed almost magic,” concludes Cary. “It’s been kind of miraculous that we could even do this, and then to see it morph into something that means so much to us—it is serendipity. I don’t speak this way normally. I’m not the kind of girl who talks about acts of God or Fate or anything like that, but somehow it feels that way; it’s a blessed little thing that the universe did for us.”

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See Tres Chicas at SXSW and at various soirees and shabangs in Austin that week!