Tres Chicas

Bloom, Red & the Ordinary Girl

(Yep Roc)

All the Shade Trees in Bloom” is one of several songs on this second release from harmony-rock trio Tres Chicas that makes a strong case for centerpiece status. Among many other virtues, it has a chorus that pleads “I want something beautiful, I want something true.” For that, look no further than the surrounding songs. There’s the stunning “Drop Me Down,” a cover from the catalog of Charlotte band Lou Ford. Tres Chicas’ folk-gospel take reveals the song to be a close relative of “I Shall Be Released,” with a soulfulness that seems to echo from the soundstage where The Band and The Staple Singers teamed up on “The Weight.” Equally attractive are Bloom‘s two other non-originals, “My Love” from gifted Yep Roc mate Geraint Watkins (solo artist, Balham Alligator, and keyboard man for the likes of Van Morrison and Nick Lowe) and a breezy, pedal steel-nudged version of country-popper Johnny Carver’s 1971 near-hit “If You Think That It’s All Right.”

A revisiting of “Slip So Easily,” written by Chica uno Lynn Blakey (Caitlin Cary and Tonya Lamm are, alphabetically, dos and tres) and originally recorded by Glory Fountain, somehow finds new layers of loveliness in a song that was drop-dead gorgeous from the start. There are other cuts–Blakey’s “Sway” and Cary’s “Still I Run,” come to mind–that would be the unquestionable belles of any other ball. But for a definition of beauty, listen to how the three voices circle and then embrace in the aforementioned chorus of “All the Shade Trees in Bloom.”

A well-traveled, London-based band of Watkins, drummer Robert Trehern, and bassist Matt Radford enrich the Chicas’ acoustic guitar/electric guitar/violin core to produce something that’s not quite folk-rock and not quite six-eyed soul; occasionally, it’s even not quite jazz. With those three voices that were born to blend out in front, it’s truly a beautiful thing.