The term “supergroup” might be a cliche, but it’s difficult to think of how else to classify I’m With Her. The trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan all have successful solo careers, all of them in acoustic music that blends bluegrass, folk, and country. All three are gifted songwriters, and Jarosz and Watkins (who was part of the Grammy-winning group Nickel Creek before going solo) are immensely talented instrumentalists who can juggle fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitar between them.
On the trio’s debut album, “See You Around,” they weave all of those skills into a stunning collection of songs, layering their tightly arranged vocal harmonies over dazzling music that can be both spartan and lush. And on their just-out new single, “Call My Name,” they take their music a step further, mixing a darker atmosphere with near-pop rhythms and a truly haunting chorus.
The group officially played together for the first time at a music camp workshop in 2014, but Jarosz, 27, actually first met Watkins, 37, when she was 9 years old.
“We’ve all known each other as musical friends for a really long time,” Jarosz says. I first met Sara at a festival outside of Austin where I grew up, and I met Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) a few years later. So we’ve all been in each other’s worlds for a while.”
The trio got together to work up some material to play at that workshop in 2014, but quickly realized something special was going on.
“There was a real chemistry between the three of us and we wanted to pursue it further,” Jarosz says. “It was interesting because we had that spark, and then we really all had to be really patient about getting the project off the ground because we all had our own careers.”
“Patient” might be a bit of an understatement. The trio didn’t play their first shows together until a U.K. tour in 2015, and it took three more years to get their first album out.
“We weren’t able to get into the studio until the beginning of 2016,” Jarosz says, “and THEN we had to wait another two years to get the record out because we all had solo albums coming out. So it took a lot of planning and a lot of patience and a lot of belief that it was special enough to be patient for. And it really has been worth all of that time and planning.”
There’s certainly a lot of common musical ground between O’Donovan, Watkins, and Jarosz, but that’s not the only reason that I’m With Her, who will perform at the Peace Center in Greenville on Tuesday, works. The three women are good friends, as well, which helps a lot when they’re on the road for weeks at a time.
“You basically live with the people you’re on the road with,” Jarosz says. “So it was such an added bonus with this band that like a lot of the same things. Ultimately, the vibe that you have offstage is going to affect the show in one way or another. People are spending their hard-earned money to come to a show, and we want to put on a good show, and if you’re waking up dreading your days with the people you’re with, it’s going to affect your 90 minutes onstage.”
But Jarosz adds that there’s also a certain sense of refuge that comes from being in a band, especially after spending years as a solo artist.
“We all love doing our own solo things,” she says, “but I think we were all at a point where we were ready to have a shared experience and take a bit of a break from carrying the majority of the load.”
So regardless of how patient the trio has to be to work on music together, Jarosz says that I’m With Her is a long-term project.
“We’ve always known that we want this band to have a long life, but in a way that fits in with what we’re all already doing,” she says. “We want to kind of sprinkle it throughout our careers in a way that will make it exciting for us to come back to it.”
What: I’m With Her, w/ Mipso
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19
Where: Peace Center, 300 S. Main St., Greenville
Vincent Harris covers the local and regional music scenes for the Greenville Journal. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter @HarrisVince or write to email@example.com.