Aside from the girls' stunning gray eyes and Southern charm, sibling harmonies and Texas fiddling come to the fore when The Quebe Sisters Band takes the stage.
"Well, uh, thank you. 'Preciate that," says Hulda Quebe, the youngest, during a telephone interview from her home in Dallas. "I think it's really special that we get to play together as siblings. Not many people get to work with their family. Some people don't even like their family, but we do. We like each other a lot, and we have a lot of fun together. We share the same vision for the band; we work well together; we feel blessed to get to do what we do, and we're just super happy that folks like it and come out and support the shows."
Hulda, Sophia and Grace Quebe, along with archtop guitar player Simon Stipp and standup bassist Daniel Parr, will perform country swing, vintage country, jazz and bluegrass at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online at craterian.org, at the box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., or by calling 541-779-3000.
Named after grandmothers and other matriarchs from their family history, the Quebe siblings started playing when Hulda was 7, Sophia was 10 and Grace was 12.
"We all began fiddle lessons at the same time," Hulda says. "We would sit in the room with a private teacher and play music together. Soon after we competed in fiddling contests. That was the catalyst for us. It was something fun to do and a good way to practice. One of the styles we started out playing was Texas-style fiddling. It's common to hear it at fiddle contests. People play it a lot. It's similar to bluegrass, kind of a cousin. It's just more of a Southern style.
"If you've never heard it before, it sounds like old-time fiddling from the East Coast," she says. "It has a lot of Scottish and Irish influences, and also some old jazz and gospel music influences. Once you have an ear for it, you can hear its nuances."
Some songs audiences may recall are "Sally Goodien," "Tom and Jerry" and "Black Mountain Rag."
The Quebes competed for a couple of years in the early 2000s at the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho. In 2002, Sophia won first runner-up in the Junior National, and Grace and Hulda won Junior National Championships.
"Texas-style fiddling has turned into a national thing," Hulda says. "A lot of players that got into it were on the West Coast."
The girls still spend time at regional contests, when they're not touring.
"They're sprinkled all around Texas, and they crop up during the summer months," Hulda says. "There's a lot of contests in Washington and Oregon, but we've never had the opportunity to compete in them. We started touring when I was in my teens, and usually when we're in those states, we're with the band.
"We tour a lot. The band is more of the career thing, and we're really serious about that. We've been together for about 10 years. We kind of had to leave contests behind to play shows locally, then we started playing out of state. We've gotten to tour all of the United States, and we go to Canada once or twice a year. We've toured England, France, Wales and Russia, of all places. It's been wonderful. We love to see new things when the time allows, and we love trying new foods. We're all pretty adventuresome."
The March 19 show in Medford is the final stop on the The Quebe Sisters Band's tour limited to Oregon, with other stops in Eugene, Hillsboro, Enterprise and Bend.
"Oregon is one of my favorite places to be," Hulda says. "It's such a beautiful state, and I love the music scene there. Folks really support acoustic music and are open-minded. You can play anything, and they'll appreciate it. We've always done well there."
Close, sibling harmonies are what stand out when the girls step to the vocal mics.
"It's the 'unfair advantage' that we have," Hulda says. "Our harmonies blend because we have inherent characteristics that give us similar voices, speaking and singing tones. It makes for a well-blended sound. When we were growing up, we were extremely influenced by The Mills Brothers, and we still are to this day. They were a sibling group as well. Their sound is something we aspire to."
The Mills Brothers were an African-American jazz and pop vocal quartet that sold more than 50 million copies of its records, at least three dozen of them turning gold. In 1998, The Mills Brothers were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
"I don't think anyone's ever done it better than them," Hulda says. "Their sound is something we aspire to."
Last year, the Quebe sisters collaborated with country artist Kacey Musgraves on a Christmas album, "A Very Kacey Christmas," and played a lot of new venues.
"Some of my favorite shows were the small venues we played," she says. "I think it's fun to play some place we've never played before, or going to a new state and playing. Last year we made it to North Dakota."
This year the girls are working on material for a new album. Their first album, "Texas Fiddlers," was released in 2003.
"We didn't even sing back then," Hulda says.
"Timeless" was released in 2007, and "Every Which-Away" in 2014. The albums are available online at quebesisters.com.