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Tres Chicas' <i>Sweetwater</i> Offers Country Fans Alternative Rootsy Sound


Tres Chicas is a rarity on the music charts: A vocal group in which all three singers are frontwomen in their own right. And don't get ready to rumba, because despite their Latin name, Tres Chicas is a trio with a rootsy alternative country sound.

Tres Chicas formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1999, but their first CD, Sweetwater, wasn't released until this year. Why? Because each "Chica" was too busy with other band commitments. The three friends wanted to sing together, but Caitlin Cary was busy touring in support of her two solo albums. Tonya Lamm had her hands full with a baby and the band Hazeldine, and Lynn Blakey was busy with her group, Glory Fountain. So Tres Chicas was considered just a parttime, once-in-a-while fun thing to do. Caitlin Cary explains the trio never thought of themselves as a "real group" until Sweetwater was released.

"Once the record came out, we all rallied around it," Cary says, "and got way more serious and devoted to Tres Chicas than we had been, or maybe than we ever thought we were going to be. For a long time, this was just something that we had done, and knew we might do again. But it's been really fun to realize we love being together and doing this together."

Seven of the 10 songs on Sweetwater are Tres Chicas' originals. All the women wrote songs for the CD. And while some say it's a very difficult job, Lynn Blakey says that, for her, writing is not a matter of easy or hard.

"I don't think of songs as being difficult or easy to write. I just think the process feels good, so I don't think of it as being hard," Blakey says. "Sometimes it's easier to start than it is to finish, however. I think finishing is the hardest thing. But generally they start out incredibly easy. Like this song. I hate to say that though, because it sounds like I didn't work on it. But it did just sort of 'flow.' They seem to write themselves. But then you do have to work on them, a little bit, to make them the best that they can be."

Although the Chicas say they intend to record again as a band, their other musical obligations mean it will be some time before the next Tres Chicas' release. The trio plans to tour the United States during the remainder of this year, and travel overseas in 2005.