The women of alternative country trio Tres Chicas first came together through friendship and a mutual respect for each other’s singing in early 1999. Accomplished musicians and friends through the years, Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain, Let’s Active, Oh-OK), Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), and Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine) comprise the Raleigh, NC-based group whose music combines sweet vocal harmonies with elements of country, folk, and rock. They first sang together publicly during a late-night spontaneous singalong after friend Alejandro Escovedo’s show at a Raleigh bar, and the response revealed that the gals were on to something special. The moniker Tres Chicas wound up sticking after the nameless group was christened such by the club’s owner at their live debut. Playing locally for fun over the next few years, the group eventually found spare time to come together and record their songs; however, the recording was being done more for posterity’s sake than for releasing an actual album. Producer and friend Chris Stamey ultimately convinced the trio to consider otherwise, and Yep Roc issued Tres Chicas’ debut, Sweetwater, in 2004 to critical acclaim.
Steph Stewart grew up in the foothills of western North Carolina, surrounded by Appalachian folk music and the twang of her grandfather’s classic country records. The sounds of the hills stayed with her years later, influencing everything from the songs she started writing in high school to the Americana string band she formed in 2013. That band, the Boyfriends, explores new limits on Nobody’s Darlin’, Stewart’s second album of raw, rootsy originals.
On her latest CD with her band The Boyfriends, Stewart and company make old-school folk for the modern age, bridging the gap between the mountain music Stewart heard as a child and the forward-thinking bluegrass of current groups like the Punch Brothers. There’s plenty of country in the mix, too, with songs like “Pearl” taking their cues from the Hank Williams songbook.