Grit n’ Groove Fest – The Trishas showcase their gorgeous harmonies


Last summer, I spent most of my time booking and show-running for the ill-fated Uncle Billy’s Rooftop on Lake Travis. It was a great venue in terms of view, location and atmosphere, and it exposed me to a lot of artists that I never would have encountered otherwise. Mostly country artists. Most of whom I ended up appreciating. Since leaving the position, I’ve kept an eye on a handful of these artists – only the ones that were my favorites, really – and a couple of them turned up on the bill for Ray Wylie Hubbard’s 4th Annual Grit N’ Groove Fest.

Regular OVRLD readers (and I mean the real die-hards) will not be strangers to Hubbard’s music, which I explored at length in January, as part of our Austin Legends series. He headlines the show on Saturday, April 6th, which also features such big-name performers as Ben Kweller and Hayes Carll. Yet further down the bill is one of the great local acts I associate with last summer: The Trishas.

The Trishas are a female quartet that released their debut full-length album last August, and ended up reaching close to the top of the Austin Music Awards in multiple categories (#3 Best Band, #3 Best Album, #4 Best Song, #4 Best Country/Bluegrass). If you like harmonies from two, three or even four women at the same time, then High, Wide & Handsome will be your new favorite record. It is bookended by a handful of really solid tracks that show off some of the finest harmonies in town. They excel at ballads and mid-tempo numbers, like “Liars & Fools,” “Strangers” (about growing distant from your partner after having kids together), and precious album closer “Gold & Silver.”

Far and away their best song, though, is “Mother of Invention.” It’s like a hipster ode to creative recontextualization (don’t let any chance go to waste, people, if you catch the potential double meaning!) as sung by a bunch of girls from the farm. I see this song as the sort of place that indie rock lovers can find common ground with country lovers (maybe it’ll get the Texas Lege to stop picking on us Austinites) – sort of like Old Crow Medicine Show but funnier and not at all pretentious. More similar to Austin’s own Lonesome Heroes.

Sadly, the album hits a rut from tracks 8-12. Going back to the well one (well, five) too many times, they settle into a bunch of slower songs that were something of a chore to get through. I could see if I were a female vocalist liking this stretch a lot more (and there are some I know who would love this album top to bottom) the way that I have an unnatural love for Peter Gabriel or Rob Thomas since they are right in the sweet spot of my vocal range. As it is, being bombarded with the faux-jazz of “Cold Blooded Love” and the lead-guitar-devoid-of-reverb on “Rainin’ Inside” just becomes too much. Fortunately the dark, rolling “John Wayne Cowboy” comes in to remind us about the exciting energy that the Trishas are capable of at their best (and channels some of Ray Wylie’s texture in doing so).

I spent my Fourth of July with the Trishas last year, watching them deliver their repertoire in red, white and blue dresses while dozens of small fireworks displays went off around Lake Travis. It’s a memory that is actually surprisingly warm and comforting – thanks mostly to their warm and comforting harmonies. High, Wide & Handsome begins to show us what their capable of, and I hope their records will only continue to improve as the consistency of their songwriting matches the consistency of their voices.

And definitely catch them as part of the stellar lineup at Ray Wylie Hubbard’s 4th Annual Grit N’ Groove Fest in New Braunfels on Saturday, April 6th.


– Carter Delloro