By Simone Goldstone | NB Indy Soundcheck Columnist
The Quebe sisters are bringing America’s regional musical treasure of progressive western swing across the country—including a show at Campus Jax in Newport Beach on Oct. 9.
The three sisters not only sing in perfect harmony, but are national fiddle champions. Their brand of western fiddling derives its roots from Bob Wills, who melted big band, western swing, and jazz all into one sizzling pot of historic country music.
The Quebe sister’s unique instrumentation not only celebrates western music, but furthers the genre along, keeping both tradition and innovation in full swing.
The sisters focus on Texas fiddling, which is mainly long bow fiddling. Just like how different dialects pop up in regions, music has its own language, and instruments like the fiddle have dialects of their own.
Influenced by immigrants and traditions, fiddling can be Kentucky blue-grass style, Appalachian style, and Canadian style, just to name a few.
The sisters consider their music progressive, aimed to bring a breath of fresh air into traditional music.
“We have an instrumentation that has never been done before. We have western swing with bass, acoustic guitar, three fiddles, and three singers,” said Sophia Quebe during a recent phone interview, “We want to move the genre boundary forwards, so it’s not a museum piece. We’re just so happy to be back on the road and to connect with people again. Music is uplifting, and people need music, so we’re happy to bring them some.” Aside from a colorful, tune-filled show, the sisters bring history and originality to life through their bows and harmonies.
The Quebe sisters have had a career steeped in country honor. The trio have met some of their music heroes, such as Connie Smith, at the Grand Ole Opry, after being invited to perform by Ricky Skaggs.
The sisters, who each won the National Fiddling Championship, were invited to record at Cash Studios, and even opened for fellow Texan Willie Nelson. The sisters and Nelson also recorded an Asleep at the Wheel album together.
While at a shareholders meeting for Justin Boots, the trio was approached by Warren Buffet, who asked if he could play the ukulele with them. At Austin City Limits, the fiddlers were invited to take to the stage with the Avett Brothers for an Asleep at the Wheel tribute.
The siblings all entered local fiddle competitions while growing up in Burleson, Texas. Their love of music and their roots pushed them to become National Champions, record albums, and tour the country.
But is it hard being a band of sisters?
“We all just want to do our best. If one of my siblings is killing it out there, it benefits everybody. You just have to put aside your ego and use competition to urge you on and inspire you,” said Sophia.
The Quebe Sisters are a great example of how family can push us to do our best and keep our traditions alive.
“I’m in love with music itself,” Sophia says of her fondness for the fiddle, “If you can feel something while playing and get the audience to feel that same emotion or message, that’s more important than the medium.”
The Quebe Sisters perform at Campus Jax Oct. 9. Doors open at 6 p.m., concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19 to $200 depending on seat location and type. This is a supper club with cabaret seating, and an entrée is required in addition to the concert ticket.
Visit www.CampusJax.com for tickets and more information. Campus Jax is located at 3950 Campus Dr. in Newport Beach.
Visit www.quebesisters.com for more information on the Quebe Sisters.
Covid note: The Campus Jax staff is back wearing masks again. The venue is operating at 40 percent of legal occupancy by their choosing. No standing room allowed; you must reserve a seat to attend. Patrons do not need to wear masks while they eat and drink at their tables, but they recommend masks be worn to and from your table, when in the restroom, and whenever you can. This is not a socially-distanced event, but is not overcrowded either. Masks are optional but highly recommended.