Shortly after the Quebe Sisters wowed an enthusiastic crowd in Seymour, Texas, with some of the best music played in the world today, lead singer Sophia Quebe was kind enough to consent to an interview about one of the top bands currently on the face of the earth on Friday, May 9.
Lane:" What do you think is the driving force behind your group's music now?"
Sophia:" You know, right now, it's just transitioning and coming up with new ways to explore and expand our music. We've had a lot of fun with our friends Katy and Penny Clark. And we've added them to the group this year."
Lane: "Are you all together now? Do you tour together?"
Sophia:" We are. They still do duo work. But the five of us play together in our band. We enjoy incorporating their sound into our group. So that is the driving force right now."
The chemistry of the group was exhibited during tonight's performance when harmony vocalist and fiddler Hulda Quebe Stipp joked that the group found the Clark twins when they were looking on the internet for six-foot-one red-headed women to join the group. Actually, the Clark sisters are both six-foot one and red-headed, but there was no Internet search. The Clarks and Quebes had met long before they combined on stage and their personalities meshed almost immediately. The Clarks grew up on a farm near Kilgore, Texas and helped pay for their college tuition by working in the fields. The Clarks were already active in Nashville when their paths crossed with the Quebe sisters. The Clarks also have a group called the Purple Hulls.
Lane: " How much effect does Christianity have on your group?"
Sophia: " That's a really good question. I think it's more like an influence on all of our lives. A basis on how you make choices and understand life. And it makes the songs better. It makes the music come to life because it's true. Jesus is our Saviour."
Lane: "Have you toured overseas yet?"
Sophia:" We went to France, Scotland, Wales and Russia. The Russian people really liked our music. In some ways it was kind of sad. Because of all the persecution they've been through. It's unbelievable the architecture they have. We went to St. Petersburg. The Hermitage was a special place. We saw castles. Amazing churches. We spent quite a bit of time in Moscow. There are areas that are really poor and run down. I would love to go back."
During 2014 the Clark sisters joined the Quebe Sisters group, so I asked Katy what that was like.
Lane: " What's it feel like transitioning into the Quebe Sisters?"
Katy Clark: "We were friends with the Quebes long before we joined the group. We were fans of their group. So when we got the opportunity we said let's go."
Lane: How was your style different?
Clark: Penny and I play bluegrass. There's lot's of similiarities. So colliding together has been a great experience.
Lane: " Are you all believers?"
Clark: " Yes."
Lane: " Does that make you all more cohesive on stage?"
Clark: " Oh, yes."
Lane: " How did the Quebes first get the idea to form a group?"
Sophia: " We went to a fiddle contest at the county fair downtown where we used to live. We wanted to take lessons. My sisters and I started playing a few tunes together. And then we got a gig. And then we got another gig. Our fiddle teachers were Sherry and and Joey McKenzie. It was more of a process. We later met Ricky Skaggs and played with him. That was exciting."
Lane: " What's the most exciting concert you've had?"
Sophia: " When Connie Smith came and asked as to sing her song when she entered the Hall of Fame. And then playing the Ryman."
Lane: " Who were the most important influences in your career?"
Sophia: " Ricky Skaggs and his wife Sharon were some of the biggest influences They helped us out a lot."
Lane: " How did the Clark sisters get the name Purple Hulls?"
Sophia: They grew up growing purple hull peas outside Kilgore and raised the money to pay for their tuition to school."
Lane: What are your plans for the future?
Sophia: "We're just playing. We're playing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra soon. I'm excited. I feel like a fish out of water. Those people are really nice."
Lane: How do your sisters and you divide the responsibilities?
Sophia: "Hulda takes care of all the high stuff, that's difficult. Grace does the harmony."
Sis and Brad Hammack were successful in bringing the Quebes to Seymour for a third straight year.
The Quebes brought the enthusiastic crowd to its feet on many occasions during Friday's concert with rousing renditions of "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" and "Wayfaring Stranger".
They have recently released a new CD entitled "Every Which A Way" which includes those two songs and ten others. The new album also includes favorites such as "How High the Moon" and "Cold, Cold Heart" previously recorded by Hank Williams.
The group performed several other of the songs off their latest CD including "Every Which-a-Way" and "Green Light" which was a Hank Thompson favorite.
All three of the Quebe sisters have won state and national titles as in fiddling competition. It has been a long and winding road from their home in Krum, Texas where they grew up in a Presbyterian home and were home-schooled by their devoted mother.
To watch the Quebe Sisters in action one can go to youtube.com to see their scintillating rendition of "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie."
A recent article in TEXASCO-OPPOWER said, "Hulda, Grace and Sophia are outrageously charming. They have loveliness, skill and modesty and focused devotion. They have long brown hair, pale skin, dark eyebrows and lustrous eyes."
That desciption was certainly an accurate one of them in Seymour last night.
In a previous interview Sophia said, "We really like the Beatles....I guess that's getting us up to a little more modern."
Actually, the Quebes music emanates from a distant past before the Beatles. The three Quebe sisters with the addition of the Clark twins may be responsible for salvaging a whole genre of music which was popular during the 1940s and 1950s.....Texas swing. Many of the Texas swing fans and musicians had reconciled themselves to their type of music becoming as extinct as the dinosaurs. But with the emergence of The Quebe Sisters, the genre may have been saved.
The Quebe sisters became intrigued with the sounds of Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, The Sons of the Pioneers, Django Reinhardt and Benny Goodman. And somehow they have been able to blend the worlds of Texas swing, gypsy swing and big band swing into a whole new musical universe which The Quebe Sisters have created as their own.
Their website describes the once-in-a-generation group as Texas favorite Western Swing, Hot Jazz, Western Vintage, Country, Texas Fiddle and Bluegrass band. Which is certainly no exaggeration.
The internationally-respected group has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, the Kennedy Center, the Ryman Auditorium and the Lincoln Center in New York City.
One of the highlights of the Seymour Concert was their performance of a song Sophia wrote in honor of her youngest sister Hulda's wedding. It is a touching song that may go down as a classic someday. Sophia composed and performed it as a surprise gift for Hulda prior to her wedding ceremony.
The group's onstage presence only enhances their appeal to audiences as they exchange sisterly jokes. Hulda introduced sister Grace as her "oldest" sister. Grace joked that Hulda only considers her as her "oldest" sister and nothing more. In reality they are probably the group that has the best trio of fiddle players in the world right now.
The unique three-part harmonies and beautiful melodies of The Quebe Sisters makes this a group for the ages.
Anyone who has the opportunity to see The Quebe Sisters Band should do so. Schedule information may be found at their website.
This is a group that people who see them now will someday be able to say decades later "we saw them back then."
It may or may not be coincidental, but Sis McGinty Hammack said Elvis Presley once performed on the same stage the The Quebe Sisters Band played on tonight.
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