"Make something out of nothing,
An original creation,
A deadringer for the real thing."
So go the first lines of Mother Of Invention, the opening cut from The Trishas' debut, "High, Wide & Handsome." Packed with sublime lyrical references to love and the simple life (and bearing no small musical resemblance to the famed Harris/Ronstadt/Parton triumvirate of the 1980's), Mother Of Invention wastes no time defining what The Trishas bring to the musical table: thoughtful songwriting, imminently singable melodies, a touch of country charm and some of the best four-part harmonies currently on record.
Mother Of Invention was written by songwriter Natalie Hemby and singer Jame Wilson, the latter being one of the four beautiful young women who comprise The Trishas. Wilson and her sisters in song - Liz Foster, Kelly Mickwee and Savannah Welch - first shared the stage in January 2009 when they came together in tribute to Savannah's dad, Kevin Welch. Naming themselves The Trishas - in honor of the Kevin-penned Yearwood song they covered at their first gig - the quartet raced their way through the industry standard to-do list of showcases, guest appearances and publishing deals that lead to the CD.
What follows is a baker's dozen worth of tracks that stick close to the same formula. The Wilson/Mickwee/John Eddie-penned Strangers is a medium tempo guitar-strummer that has Welch looking at the wedding pictures on the TV set and seeing people she doesn't recognize. Wilson's Sweet Little Guitars is a freight train ride through a woman's story of being "foolish and young" while Liars & Fools features Mickwee offering a gutsy lead vocal about "choosing the fools everytime." All strong cuts, they are competent, well-written and beautifully executed.
The lone negative is the lack of variety in tempo and texture across the 14 tracks. None build up much of a head of steam, the aforementioned Sweet Little Guitars being the fastest, albeit still restrained, cut. Texturally, the album become a bit tedious at times, relying a little too much on the standard four-part harmony over mandolin format. Raul Malo's appearance on the bonus track, A Far Cry From You, offers some relief, but it's a case of too little, too late. With an all-star band that includes Harry Stinson, Viktor Krauss and Kenny Vaughan on board, it would've been nice to hear the band open up a little more and rough things up a touch, like rubbing a bit of 80-bit sandpaper over the whole proceedings.
All told, though, "High, Wide & Handsome" is an excellent piece of work, if not ready for a barn dance then at least well-suited for a sultry evening sitting on the front porch.