Sweet Tea Trio wows Ritz audience

Published 5:22 pm Saturday, November 11, 2017

It truly was a sweet night in the Camellia City on Thursday—from the array of desserts and sweet tea served in the Woodruff Building to the soaring harmonies sung on the stage of the Ritz.

The Sweet Tea Trio—three Alabama natives now forging a career in Music City—won over their Ritz audience with those tight three-part harmonies and skilled musicianship, served with a gracious plenty of southern charm. The concert was the second of four performances brought to the Ritz by the Greenville Area Arts Council as part of their 2017-18 season. And it’s the second, after Butler County native Ric McNaughton’s October concert, to feature Alabama-grown talent.

“We look at a lot of artists when we are planning out our season and talk to a lot of managers looking for the right fit. When I first heard these girls’ music, I was impressed . . . these girls have won awards are considered rising stars in country music,” said Nancy Idland, the GAAC’s artistic director, as she introduced the group to the Ritz audience.

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“And then to find out they were all from Alabama, well, that just blew me away. We knew we wanted to bring them here.”

Performing both covers of songs made popular by country luminaries present and past, including Little Big Town, Jodi Messina and Linda Rondstadt, along with original compositions from their debut EP, the three young women—Kate Falcon, Victoria Camp and Savannah Coker—displayed an infectious energy and lively sense of  humor over the course of the show. The trio even came down and mingled with the audience, dancing with some of the attendees during “Life is a Highway.”

While their back-up band rested, they performed a poignant acoustic set, singing in honor of the nation’s veterans. The trio closed out the show with a version of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace” that could justly be described as spine-tingling.

Sweet Tea Trio definitely won some new local fans.

“I’m positively hoarse. I did too much singing along,” admitted audience member Dr. Carol Pope. “Just a fabulous show.”

“We thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Noel Seale.

“The show was great, the young ladies were gracious southern ladies—and the sweet tea was good,” commented Margaret Poole Pierce.

Ritz Players Kimberly Ruggles and Barbara Touchstone both described Sweet Tea Trio as “awesome.”

Another sign they were a hit: their merchandise table in the Ritz’s front lobby sold out of the STT’s debut CD, with a number of t-shirts, caps and posters also selling well.

The girls have traveled across the country to perform this year, but seemed particularly happy to be back in their “stompin’ grounds.”

“We all live in Nashville now, but we still love coming home to Alabama. This is where our heart is and always will be,” expressed one of the trio. The three young women, who met through a  mutual vocal coach here in Alabama, describe themselves as feeling like sisters. They were delighted to point out several of their family members in the Ritz audience—moms and dads who had traveled from Birmingham, Gadsden and Tuscaloosa to see their girls perform.

The trio also stopped in before the show to the pre-show party held right across the street from the theater in the lobby of the offices of First Reality of Greenville. A lavish spread featuring everything from finger sandwiches and fresh fruit kabobs to cheesy grits and mini ham biscuits awaited guests, with vintage quilts, rustic candles, and a beautiful fall floral arrangement gracing the tables.

“I love our new pre-show parties and everyone really seems to enjoy them,” said the GAAC’s artistic director, Nancy Idland. “Susan Sorrells and her crew did a fabulous job putting this all together. It was simply another great night in downtown Greenville.”