ARTIST: The Quebe Sisters
CD: The Quebe Sisters
Website: The Quebe Sisters
CD Release Date:September 2019
Reviewer: Mississippi Chris Sharp
I was sent a link to The Quebe Sisters Soundcloud page that had all the tracks of The Quebe Sisters self-titled CD. I listened to it and pondered the scope of the reviews I have been asked to do for The Bluegrass Standard. Some are hard-driving Bluegrass. Some are newgrass. Some are gospel. Some are raucous, rowdy old-time. Some are polished studio presentations. Some are precipitously live, warts and all. Some are released before they are through. Some are released long after they are through, with the post-production taking away from the performances. Some are recorded live in the studio. Some have more overdubs than a phlebotomist has needles. Some are jazzy, Dawgish, Flatt and Scruggish, Monroeish, Carterish, or Stanleyish. Some are tedious, unflattering, unenjoyable, unremarkable, unmarketable, and essentially unreviewable.
The Quebe Sisters self-titled CD is none of those things. If one adds another category of what this CD is not, one might rightly lump to It-Ain’t- Bluegrass. It isn’t, not by a long shot. Having consigned The Quebe Sisters to Blake’s netherworld pandemonium of It-Ain’t Bluegrass, I don’t suppose it will bother the sisters much. They know their music isn’t Bluegrass. They bill themselves as Progressive Western Swing and place themselves in the Americana genre on their Soundcloud page. After having made honestly derived observations of how to classify their music, we’ll move on to the music itself.
It is delightful. It is transporting. It is nostalgic. It is sibling harmony and triple fiddles, all in true Texas style, a big band sound, although sparsely instrumented. It shouts of Bob Wills, Johnny Gimble, and Texas Two-Step. It strongly hints at Django Rhinehart and the Hot Club of France, Stephan Grapelli, Dinah Shore, Doris Day, The Mills Brothers, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Lena Horne, Gene Autry, gives a welcome nod to Kenny Baker and smells of fresh, strong coffee boiled in big pots hanging on spits at cowboy campfires on quiet, star-lit open-range nights, the sky as big as all Texas, the cowboys thinking of their girls at home, both lonesome and cheered by the sounds of The Quebe Sisters. The cowboys likely didn’t have music queued up on a smartphone, earbuds, or a way to charge their phones while on the trail, if they had had them. They’d likely have abandoned the roundup to go and catch a glimpse of The Quebe Sisters and hear their music live, or at least find a way to charge their phone for more of the second-best thing, which is still good. Their memories of this music would come easy, as they hunkered down in their bedrolls by the embers of the fire, as the soft echoes of the lullaby “Twilight on the Trail” soothed them to a restful repose, smiles on their faces, their peaceful sleep whispering dreams of their darlings at home.
I regret that their website did not disclose the names of each angel-voiced Quebe Sister, or which ones did the lead singing, or of the guitarist who played the archtop guitar, at times beating it into submission without mercy and at others displaying the tenderness of a mother’s touch, and the bassist who had the tone, attack, timbre, and touch I admire. I could find no record label information, nor any song credits. Perhaps their label or publicist can make this information easier to find on their website. I regret I did not have the physical CD in my hand to look at all the liner notes.
While this whole CD was enjoyable, even soothing, I have my favorites. Kenny Baker’s “Bluegrass in the Backwoods” just jumped out at me. I was thankful to have this tune brought back to my memory and performed so well. Kenny is no doubt smiling. “The Waltz You Saved for Me” and the aforementioned “Twilight on the Trail” were soft, soothing, like a balm for a tired soul. Other favorites are “Pierce the Blue”, “Lullaby of the Leaves”, and “Summer of Roses”, each featuring profoundly tight sibling harmonies and a cohesive, spartan band, every note contributing to the whole sound, with the harmony of the triple fiddles always complimenting the vocal harmonies.
I keep reaching for the word soothing. I had wanted to hear this without knowing it existed. I had yearned for it. I longed to be touched by someone else’s music. I am declaring myself to you now; I was more than touched. I was soothed.
I am looking forward to seeing The Quebe Sisters for myself, closing my eyes, lending my ears, and being soothed some more. Someone once told me I “Always Seem to Get Things Wrong” (a delightful two-stepping song on this CD). Well, I got this one right. Had I spent my money on this CD, I’d consider it well spent.