You are hereAlbum Review: The Quebe Sisters Band - Timeless (Fiddletone)
Album Review: The Quebe Sisters Band - Timeless (Fiddletone)
When you first hear the sibling harmonies of Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe on this record, you would be forgiven for thinking these recordings were made several decades ago in the heyday of Bob Wills' particular brand of Western Swing, especially when backed by the tight rhythm section of Joey McKenzie on guitar and both Drew Phelps and Dennis Crouch sharing upright bass duties; little wonder then that the album is entitled TIMELESS.Drawing from the influences of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, the Sons of the Pioneers, Benny Goodman, the Quintet of the Hot Club of France and the Mills Brothers to name but a few, TIMELESS is a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a selection of songs and tunes from another era entirely.
Recorded in the idyllic setting of the Cash Cabin Studio, way out in the woods of Hendersonville, Tennessee, guitarist Joey McKenzie found himself at the helm of this project. A champion fiddler himself, McKenzie knew instinctively how to get the best out of the three fiddling siblings, all of whom had been mentored by both himself and his wife Sherry. Staggeringly, the Quebe Sisters' first record, TEXAS FIDDLERS was entirely instrumental, which is rather like imagining an Everley Brothers record without any singing on it.
These voices have to be heard to be believed and this record gives us ample opportunity to catch up with those voices on such songs as So Long to the Red River Valley, Georgia on my Mind and Along the Navajo Trail, all of which demonstrate a tight understanding of harmony, way beyond their years; hard to believe they've only been singing professionally for five years.
Their playing abilities were noticed slightly earlier after each of the sisters took up the fiddle simultaneously, having attended a fiddle contest in Denton, Texas in 1998. Being knocked out by the sound of the instrument, the sisters endeavored to pick up everything by ear, trawling their combined record collections and coming up with something fresh based very definitely on something old.
Their fiddle playing is best exemplified on their instrumentals and one or two are included on TIMELESS, notably the old Bob Wills tune Twin Guitar Special, the traditional Speed the Plow Medley, Benny Goodman's Air Mail Special and Duke Ellington's legendary Take the 'A' Train. The real delight in the Quebe Sisters Band's music is when they combine the two such as on the infectious Roly Poly.
Championed by such artists as Ricky Skaggs, Jimmy Buffett and Marty Stuart, the band recently picked up two celebrated awards, Group of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists and the Crescendo Award by the Western Music Association, indicating that the Quebe Sisters are beginning to be recognised by their peers and a steadily growing fan base. The Fort Worth-based group has so far played all the prestigious gigs including appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, the Kennedy Center and New York's Lincoln Center as well as some of the major festivals and concert halls throughout North America and Canada. Pleasingly, we will have an opportunity to see the Quebe Sisters Band at the Cambridge Folk Festival this summer and this reviewer has every intention of claiming a front row seat (or patch of grass) for himself.