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story.lead_photo.caption Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan and Sara Watkins perform together as I'm With Her.

Folk group I'm With Her became a band in a backward sort of way. Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan and Sara Watkins first came together in 2014 for an off-the-cuff performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado.

"It was the first time the three of us had sat down together to even mildly work up anything and it was a little happy awareness, 'Oh, this is cool, this is special, this sounds great,'" Watkins says of their set, which mostly featured covers. "Throughout that day we found ourselves singing together a few more times and after that day we texted each other: 'That was fun, right? We should do that again.'"

The next logical step would be to start writing songs, yes? Instead, the three, who all knew one another casually before that first performance, went on a European tour in early 2015 and played a bunch of festivals performing songs from Nina Simone, Jim Croce and more. (The trio's name predates Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.)

It wasn't until that summer that they began writing songs. In February, their debut album, See You Around, was released.

See You Around is a hypnotic, soothing blend of three voices and multiple instruments, pulling from the women's various jazz, bluegrass and folk backgrounds. All three play guitar, with Jarosz adding mandolin, O'Donovan laying down keyboard work and Watkins playing fiddle. At times, their voices seem to blur into one.

"We all have really different voices but even we sometimes, when we've been listening back to voice memo arrangements, we thought, 'Wait, are you singing that part or am I?'" Watkins says.

Style on 03/18/2018

Print Headline: I'm With Her initiated with covers at Telluride

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