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Trishas figure it out as they go along

Brian T. Atkinson

The Trishas' deeply soulful harmonies keep close Sunday mornings. The Austin-based female quartet, which equally splits songwriting and arranging duties, fortifies both originals ("Whistling") and covers ("Spoonful") with rich gospel sensibilities.

"We each either bring one we've written or a cover we want to do," singer-songwriter Savannah Welch says. "Once that song hits the table and we start figuring out what we're feeling, it's a real collaborative effort."

The Trishas support Todd Snider on Friday at Gruene Hall and Saturday at the UT Union Ballroom.

American-Statesman: How was (Austin-based Dickson Productions') the Music Fest (in Steamboat, Colo.) this year?

Savannah Welch: It was great. This was the first year we were officially booked as a band. Last year, we just did the tribute (to Welch's songwriter father Kevin Welch).

Kelley Mickwee: Last year, we wanted to do something special for Savannah's dad. We can't quite remember how the four of us got together, but we learned three of his songs for the tribute. I guess we did pretty well. Everyone dug it, and we were getting gigs from just doing three songs.

Did you know right away that it could be more than a one-off show, or did that come from the gig offers?

Welch: We knew we liked each other and we knew it sounded good, but we didn't plan to do anything after that.

How'd you get involved with Ray Wylie (Hubbard)'s new album (the Trishas sing on his song 'Whoop and Hollar')?

Mickwee: Savannah's worked for Ray and (Hubbard's wife) Judy on and off, and I work for them two days a week. Kevin lives down the street from them in Wimberley, so we've all hung out. He and Judy are just big fans and supporters of ours. He asked us to come in because he had a song that needed a female gospel choir kind of thing, and he thought we'd be perfect. It was fun.

Like Ray's, there's a spiritual aspect to much of your music. Take 'Whistling.'

Welch: We never said to each other that that's what we want to do, or that we're doing that on purpose necessarily. But like Kelley was saying, we got these show offers really quick. We only knew the three songs we worked up for my dad's tribute (laughs). We really quickly had to come up with a full set of songs. So, we each brought originals and covers and public domain songs, and there ended up being a spiritual theme around it.

Mickwee: The ones I brought were public domain songs about Jesus or Moses.

Your MySpace page's quote is 'We're working on it.' Is that a reference to your debut album, or the band in general?

Mickwee: Everything! (Both laugh.) We're just kind of figuring out things as they come at us. A lot of bands get together and practice for a long time, get a few gigs, know what they're doing. They have a plan. We're making that plan as we go. Now, we're trying to figure out when to make a record and who with and what songs and, you know, where to get the money. (Laughs.)