Detroit Cobras’ lead singer, Rachel Nagy and rhythm guitarist, Maribel Restrepo, met in a bar in 1996 and have been making records and touring together ever since. The crux of their work has been to recreate the greatness of old school Motown and R&B by covering the more obscure songs from that canon, but with the intention to remain true to the spirit of the original song. This sort of effort could come off as a heady ploy or mere laziness, but in fact, functions as a form of music curatorship but imbued with hard work and lots of good ole fashioned rock & roll fun. And, unlike their Detroit brethren, Jack White, whose detours into blues and country seems, at times, less than genuine, Detroit Cobras are able to hit upon the spirit of the songs they have chosen to cover thereby doing them honor while making them their own.
Besides, fact is, had they never mentioned they were doing covers no one but the most nerdiest of music collectors (or baby boomers) would have known anyway. In this way they are more than a mere cover band.
I spoke with Maribel after the Sacramento show on June 9th about this point and a few others, but mostly about the annoyances of being after a prize winning cow and a working woman in the male dominated music business. As she points out – it may be a man’s world but the women of Detroit Cobras know how to roll with it.