The Quebe Sisters Band
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The Quebe Sisters Band

Burleson, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM

Burleson, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
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"The Quebe Sisters' Arresting Swing Harmonies"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/20/AR2006092001861.html

The Quebe Sisters' Arresting Swing Harmonies

By Chris Richards
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, September 21, 2006; Page C02

The Quebe Sisters are onstage, the sound of their fiddles weaving through clinking glasses, audience chitchat.

Then they start singing.

"No way!" one onlooker gasps.

The crowd members at Madam's Organ trade wide-eyed glances as the sisters' voices intertwine in astonishing three-part harmony. Out on 18th Street NW, pub-crawlers pause in their tracks as they pass the dive bar's open window. A guy inexplicably decked out in pirate regalia stops to listen, his un-patched eye registering amazement.

Hearing the Quebe Sisters sing is nothing short of mesmerizing -- perhaps because they make music that most have only experienced via grainy black-and-white TV screens or crackling vinyl. Imagine the angelic Andrews Sisters (of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" fame) singing in top form -- and then ripping into a nimble fiddle breakdown.

The Quebe Sisters Band performs a style of western swing music that originated in the 1930s, but here it is in 2006, unfolding before our very ears.

Even more amazing: It's coming from three young women who look even younger than they are. At 16, 19 and 20, Hulda, Sophia and Grace Quebe could pass for 16, 16-and-a-half and 16-and-three-quarters. They move to the music like synchronized bobble-heads as their mentor, guitarist Joey McKenzie, slaps his rhythm guitar and cowboy-hatted bassist Drew Phelps plucks away. Grace bears down on her fiddle. Sophia nods to her sisters. Hulda smiles, her eyes darting around the room, twinkling like the metallic "H" on her belt-buckle.

You get the impression that there's no place they'd rather be.

The Quebe (pronounced KWAY-bee) sisters -- who play the Kennedy Center this weekend -- are from Burleson, Tex., just outside Fort Worth. ("It's so small, we only have five Starbucks," McKenzie quips between songs.) After watching McKenzie and his wife, Sherry, perform at a fiddle contest in 1998, the home-schooled girls wanted to take lessons. The McKenzies took them under their wing, introducing them to such western swing greats as Bob Wills and Spade Cooley.

"Sure, they were talented," Sherry McKenzie says, "But more importantly, they were determined and studious. They aren't prodigies. They just work really hard."

The sisters started performing a couple of years later, quickly moving up from busking to private events, to Texas dance halls, to state fairs -- winning state and national fiddle competitions along the way. They recorded and self-released their instrumental debut disc in 2003. Why instrumental? Because they just started singing two years ago.

Almost impossible to believe after hearing their clarion voices wind through "Across the Alley From the Alamo" at Madam's Organ on Tuesday night. (Go ahead and kick yourself for missing it -- but not too hard. They'll be singing the same tune with the Grammy-winning Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel in this weekend's musical, "A Ride With Bob.")

Although the band might record another CD by the end of the year, they're in no hurry. Various labels have approached them, but they're planning on another self-release. "We've talked to so many musicians with horror stories about making an awful album that's haunted them for years later," Joey explains. "We don't want to rush into it and make a mistake.

Grace, the oldest Quebe, elaborates: "We don't want to come out with something that sounds like a shadow of what used to be. We've held off on recording because we want to get better. We wanna really swing ." And more important, "We don't want to be seen as a kid band."

The Quebe Sisters Band will perform in "A Ride With Bob" at the Kennedy Center at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. The band also is scheduled to perform at the National Folk Festival in Richmond on Oct. 13-15. - The Washington Post


"CD Review"

http://www.austin360.com/music/content/music/stories/2007/08/0812cds.html

CD REVIEWS

UGK, The Quebe Sisters Band, Eisley

SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Quebe Sisters Band - 'Timeless'

(FiddleTone)



Nothing in music is more organically stirring than sibling harmonies.

This trio of sisters from Burleson adds another heavenly dimension when they play fiddles in unison. The sensation of the Folk Alliance in Memphis last February, the Quebe (pronounced "kway-bee") kids, none older than 21, would smack of a novelty act if they weren't so darn catchy and spiritually smooth. With its mix of old West themes, cowboy jazz and big band standards, "Timeless" suggests an unplugged session with the Andrews Sisters fronting Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. These unsinkable mollies could be tagged "The Great-Granddaughters of the Pioneers." Garrison Keillor will book them on "A Prairie Home Companion" the second he hears them.

If there's a knock on this debut, which find the Quebes backed by only an acoustic guitar and standup bass, it's that the song selections are pretty obvious, with Spade Cooley's "Shame On You" segueing into Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" and then it's "Georgia On My Mind." The Quebes test positive for Branson. With songs about the Red River Valley, the Alamo, the Navajo Trail and those "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," they come off like the Dixie Chicks before Natalie Maines made them relevant. But the early Chicks could never sing like this.

What makes this CD so charming, if not challenging, is that Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe sound like they were having a blast recording it at John Carter Cash's cabin studio outside of Nashville. It's a record you can hear smiling the whole time. There are times that are right for dark, moody tunes, but sometimes you just want music to make you feel better.

That's what "Timeless" is for.

Recommended: "Shame On You" and "So Long To the Red River Valley"

— Michael Corcoran
- Austin American-Statesman


Discography

Timeless-New Release
Texas Fiddlers

Photos

Bio

THE QUEBE SISTERS BAND is one of the most exciting new groups to come on the music scene in years. Formed in 2000, The Quebe Sisters Band (pronounced kway-bee) performs a refreshing blend of western swing (like heroes Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys), hot jazz and swing standards (Benny Goodman), western (Sons of the Pioneers), vintage country, and traditional Texas-style fiddle tunes.

The Fort Worth-based group features the intricate triple fiddles and vintage-style three-part harmony vocals of Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe, along with the swinging rhythm guitar of Joey McKenzie and upright bassist Drew Phelps. All three girls have been Texas and national fiddle Champions, while McKenzie is a three-time world champion fiddler.

The music of The Quebe Sisters Band appeals to a wide variety of audiences. The band’s fervent followers include western swing fans, western/cowboy music devotees, bluegrass addicts, jazz and swing buffs, string band aficionados, lovers of the classics, and old-time fiddle fans. The band plays for them at concert halls, western swing festivals, folk festivals, bluegrass festivals, western/cowboy gatherings, jazz festivals, nightclubs, rodeos, and private events alike.

Since its formation, The Quebe Sisters Band has performed across the country, with shows at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., New York City’s Lincoln Center and The National Folk Festival and on “Ernest Tubb’s Midnite Jamboree” (WSM Radio). Concert performances include shows with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Asleep at the Wheel, Merle Haggard, Riders in the Sky and The Reno Philharmonic.

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