Quebe Sisters Band kicks off Jammin' in July, McKinney's free music series
By Allen Rich
Jul 17, 2009
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Word of caution: If you come home from a Quebe Sisters Band concert, yank off your spurs and pop open that pearl-snap shirt, don't be surprised, once the spell eventually wears off, to find that you've pulled the heels off your Gucci loafers and ripped all the buttons off your favorite Pierre Cardin shirt.  This band is so authentic that everyone feels like they've been out riding the wide-open range when the Quebe Sisters are in town.

Two things you need to know about the Quebe Sisters Band.  First, it's pronounced "Kwaybee."

Second, if you haven't heard of this band, you will.

And one other thing about the Quebe Sisters Band -- two of these sisters are brothers. If that feeble attempt at humor reminds you of those quarrelsome carpenters, the Monroe brothers from the old TV show Green Acres, you're likely to be just a tad bit older than the three Quebe sisters, whose ages range from 18 to 23.

And while rhythm guitarist Joey McKenzie and bassist Drew Phelps aren't actually brothers, the point is that this is a remarkable five-man band that just happens to be fronted by three young ladies that are every bit as phenomenally talented and refreshingly modest as they are stunningly beautiful -- Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe.

If the three Quebe sisters never sang a note, their fiddle work would still make this a noteworthy band. But, oh, when they sing!  It is heavenly harmony to hear how the sisters' voices flow in three-part precision.  Sophia delivers most of the melody, although Grace does her share of singing the lead part, as well.  Hulda has the difficult task of weaving in the high harmony. 

Mr. McKenzie may look more like an NFL linebacker than a professional musician, but he is a three-time world champion fiddle player that also happens to play a very mean rhythm guitar...good enough, in fact, to also be a five-time Texas State Champion Guitar player.

Mr. Phelps is in such demand as an outstanding upright bass player that has recorded with everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Bob Hope.  There are no weak sisters in the Quebe Sisters Band.  One of the most difficult aspects of a QSB concert is that it is difficult to keep up with all five performers at the same time.

But that's a good problem. 

Another problem is deciding which genre of music you prefer from the Quebe Sisters Band.

Perhaps you think QSB hits on all cylinders when they downshift into their Hank gear and churn out vintage country tunes like Hank Thompson's "Oklahoma Hills" or "Cold, Cold Heart" by Hank Williams. 

Maybe you love those Texas fiddle songs like "Spanish Two-Step" by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys or another endearing song, "Teardrop From My Eyes," by Bob's brother, Billy Jack Wills.  Another crowd favorite is Spade Cooley's "Shame on You." The irony in the title of that last song is a little over the top since Cooley went to prison for murdering his wife.

Or it could be that QSB hits its stride when this versatile band swings through Benny Goodman's "Avalon" or the jazz standard "Take the 'A' Train" that the Duke Ellington Orchestra made famous.  

Speaking of Benny Goodman, one of the Quebe sisters favorite musicians, Bonham native Charlie Christian, played jazz guitar for Goodman from 1939-1941.  If you enjoy jazz but aren't familiar with Charlie Christian, well, as Spade Cooley would say, shame on you. 

The Jamminí in July series will continue with the Gumbo Kings on July 16, Havana NRG on July 23 and then Alpen Musiktal will close out the series on July 30.  All concerts start at 7:30 p.m.  Concert attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs or a picnic basket, but alcohol is not allowed in city parks.  Admission and parking are free.

If you are hankerin' to catch a Quebe Sisters Band concert, you will either need to book a flight to the West Coast or patiently set a spell.  QSB plays three shows in Washington State and one concert in Oregon in late July before heading to South Dakota to perform in the the 30th Sioux River Folk Festival July 31-August 1. (www.fotm.org)


Music fans in northern Arkansas are in for a special treat when the Quebe Sisters Band plays at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas on August 7.


The band heads to Nashville the next day host the nation's second-longest running radio show, the world famous Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree.


The next Time QSB will perform in the Lone Star State is August 13 when the band is scheduled to entertain at the Thursday Night Live Concert Series at Central Market in Fort Worth.  This will be a free show on the patio, with music beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the Quebe Sisters Band performing from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.


If you want to cool your heels at a very cool event, head up to the foothills of the Rockies for the Four Corners Folk Festival September 4-6 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, just south of Wolf Creek Pass.  The Quebe Sisters Band will play Friday and Saturday.


When you look at all the interesting venues this band is playing, it makes you even more appreciative to the McKinney Parks & Recreation Department and the Creative Arts Alliance for bringing this remarkable band to our neck of the woods.


To learn more about the Quebe Sisters Band, visit http://www.quebesistersband.com/