Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival featuring The Quebe Sisters Thursday-Saturday Cottonwood Flats Noble Avenue, Guthrie oibf.com 282-4446 Day pass $30-$40, three-day pass $80
Given that Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival aims on being a world-class festival, it only makes sense its acts come from all over the globe.
Besides The Gatlin Brothers as headliners, this year sees Fragment flying in from the Czech Republic, the Kruger Brothers making their way from Switzerland, and the Bluegrass Boogiemen taking a long trip from Holland all to be a part of the festival founded by fiddler Byron Berline.
Featured act The Quebe Sisters Band may only hail from the neighboring state of Texas, but the sibs still bring something fresh. Being some of the only women performing at the event and just barely into their 20s, the trio — with a two-piece backing band — doesn’t shy away from playing bluegrass with the best of them, even if most their age opt for Lady Gaga or Lil Wayne.
“I think it’s just great music. It boils down to an amazing art form,” Sophia Quebe said. “It doesn’t matter to me what time in history it comes from necessarily, as long as it’s good music. There’s great music today, great music 40 years ago, and we play a lot of more traditional-based music. It appeals to me and my sisters because we sit back and listen to it, and it’s just a great style.”
The three have given Western swing, vintage country, jazz standards and bluegrass a go since adolescence. Although all three play the fiddle, sibling rivalry is rarely an issue.
“We have our moments, for sure.
But we get over it and get past it, whatever it is,” Quebe said. “It’s nice to be able to do this together.”
Getting an early start has paid off in more ways than one. The act has been praised by the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Marty Stuart, supported Merle Haggard and Ricky Skaggs in concert, performed as a backing band for billionaire Warren Buffett, and played for President George W. Bush alongside Asleep at the Wheel.
“It was an incredible experience,” Quebe said. “It was such an honor, and that really blew our minds that we were there getting to be a part of that. It’s nice to look back and see opportunities like that coming through music.”
Despite already having played for more than a decade, The Quebe Sisters don’t look to slow down anytime soon. Burnout does not even appear to be a possibility.
“It’s always working toward the next thing, your next goal and trying to achieve something,” she said. “Just to keep things moving along, that keeps it fresh and exciting as you do it every day.”