The Quebe Sisters are worthy heirs of classic country styles | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Quebe Sisters are worthy heirs of classic country styles 

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click to enlarge The Quebe Sisters

The Quebe Sisters

Stewart Cohen

The Quebe Sisters bill themselves as progressive western swing, but in most respects they sound more old-timey than the country-jazz acts of the 30s and 40s that inspire them. Though the “King of Western Swing,” Bob Wills, included traditionally noncountry instruments such as horns and electric guitar in his band and played tunes by Duke Ellington and Count Basie, the Quebe sisters make music more in line with the familiar 50s and 60s honky-tonk tropes that were influenced by Wills’s sound. The five-piece group—fiddle-playing sisters Grace, Sophia, and Hula Quebe, guitarist Simon Stipp, and upright bassist Daniel Parr—perform a mix of traditional standards (Bob Wills’s “I Can't Go On This Way,” Hank Williams’s “Cold, Cold Heart”) and new songs that sound like traditional standards. The highlight of the latter is their signature tune, “Every Which-a-Way,” which is the title track on their 2014 self-released album. The beat provided by Stipp and Parr doesn’t thunder with the propulsion of Wills’s drum-anchored outfits, but it’ll still get your feet tapping while the Quebes alternate between driving triple-fiddle interludes and rollicking Andrews Sisters-style vocals. Though the sisters are supposedly singing to a lover when they harmonize “Every which-a-way you turn, it seems you’re right beside me,” they could just as easily be talking about their favorite old country styles—they still carry a torch for that music, no matter how many others have forgotten it. And while the Quebe Sisters’ take on these classic sounds isn’t as innovative as they claim, it’s still fun to listen to them and let yourself be transported to the past.   v

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