Album Reviews

The Trishas – High, Wide & Handsome (Trishas Music)

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The Trishas High Wide & HandsomeThis musical phenomenon arose from a January 2009 “one-time collaboration” of four singers, Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelly Mickwee, and Savannah Welch, to honor singer/songwriter Kevin Welch, father of Savannah.    The original plan included several songs written/co-written by Welch including “Satan’s Paradise,” “Till I’m Too Old to Die Young,” written when Savannah was four, as well as “That’s What I like About You,” which was a big hit forTrisha Yearwood in 1992.  While the latter did not make the final selection, the girls began referring to each other in rehearsals as Trisha as in “Nice job Trisha” or “Great work Trisha.” 

The reaction to their performance was so unexpectedly enthusiastic that some kind of continuation seemed inevitable.  Later the same year they performed at The Americana Music Association Conference & Festival in Nashville and were invited by Raul Malo to sing on his Saints & Sinners album. That was followed by their participation with Ray Wylie Hubbard on his A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no c) album and with Kevin Welch on his A Patch of Blue Sky album. They also toured with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and with Todd Snider. 

A five track EP, They Call Us The Trishas, was released in 2010 and signaled the arrival of a new formidable musical force.  The gospel-tinged ballad “Rise Above,” written by Foster and performed by Wilson, Welch & Mickwee, illustrated how the “call & response” technique can be made more beautiful with angelic harmonizing.  “Drive,” co-written by Mickwee and released in early 2010 as a single is a sorrow packed musical lament about leaving to “where you can’t find me and the cold winds don’t call out your name.”

The new album contains 14 tracks, 13 of which were written/co-written by one or more of the band members.  (A bonus track, “A Far Cry From You” featuring Raul Malo, was written by Mickwee, Welch and Jim Lauderdale).  The Trishas display seemingly infinite musical flexibility  with vocal assignments and supporting instruments.  All four Trishas play at least two instruments and the lead vocal responsibility seems to be evenly distributed in the current album as well as in a recent live performance in Nashville where a fifth band member, Brandy Zdan, ably added instrumental support on electric guitar, accordion and lap steel.

Liars & Fools” co-written and sung by Mickwee concludes that fools are preferred because “liars live in their own little world while fools lay it all on the line.”  Wilson wrote and sang lead vocal on “Looking At Me” which explores the subtle interaction of two people unsure of their respective doubts and desires and Welch co-wrote and sang lead on “Over Forgetting You” which celebrates a healthy lack of remorse for a break-up.  This talented group of unique musicians whose mesmerizing harmonies are typically associated only with the same DNA such as the Everly Brothers, Louvin brothers or Lennon sisters, have evoked favorable comparisons to the Dixie Chicks, Wailin’ Jennys, and Stairwell Sisters, among others. The Trishas are an extremely talented and wonderfully refreshing new addition to an often-unimaginative musical landscape!

– Scott Peavler

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