Home Free: Country evolution


Matt Gray, Arts & Entertainment Contributor

The most interesting group of singers I’ve ever heard is the country accapella group Home Free. You may think, “Country! Eww, I hate country music!” but you don’t have to love country to listen to this group. They have a very unique, fun vibe that can appeal to everyone. The group consistently gives amazing vocals and cranks out catchy tunes. This album is no exception.

Their previous album Crazy Life was full of calm, fairly laid-back tunes; there was definitely some ear candy but nothing overly extravagant. In Country Evolution there is non-stop ear candy and off the walls vocal gymnastics. Every single song is darn near perfect.

What makes this album different from their previous album is the sound. It’s become fuller, faster, and more fun. I have never had so much fun listening to music. Take “Elvira” for instance, it’s an old song, they also feature a group of older, more experienced acapella singers, it’s a great representation of the album. It takes a little of the old and transforms it, making the songs modern sounding. As the title of the album says, they are taking country to a whole new place, giving it whole new sound. But it’s not just the music that has evolved it’s also the group itself.

Home Free is fantastic as a whole but they are just as good as individuals. Tim Foust (Bass) has a mind-blowing range and he is a great solo singer as well, which he is given ample amount of time to prove. Tim provides a sturdy foundation to build a song on; you always build from the bottom up in music.

The second thing that can make or break a song is the instruments, unfortunately in acapella music there are no instruments which is why you have Adam Rupp (Vocal Percussion). Adam is the reason you can’t believe the tracks on this album are acapella. I often forget that what I’m hearing isn’t actually instuments. The interplay between the bass and the drums is key, and Adam and Tim crush every single one.

Acapella music has a tricky formula and, as in regular choral music, you can’t really have a good arrangement without a solid middle voice part or a good arranger, Home Free has both in Chris Rupp. He is the baritone of the group, he also happens to be the lead arranger for most of their songs, and he is the brother of Vocal Percussionist Adam Rupp. They started the group together back in college. Chris knows how to build amazing chords and intricately replicate songs into the modern acapella form.

There isn’t much to be said about Tenor Rob Lundquist except he has an awesome beard and he can sing really high. Something would be missing from Home Free if Rob wasn’t there, he is an integral part of the group, he gives it a real soul. Finally there is lead singer Austin Brown. Moving on, sorry. No, Austin is a remarkable singer whom the group as a whole relies on as with most bands. Again, if you left out anyone in the group the sound would not be the same, it would seem like something was missing.

There are a few standout tracks on the album; “Summer in the Country”, Elvira (Feat. The Oak Ridge Boys), Home Free’s version of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 was one of the more interesting tracks on the album, I could literally just imaging them sitting in a room jamming, throwing stuff out there. I was really looking forward to “The Devil Went down to Georgia,” the wait was sort of worth it. The band tries to jack up the theatricality of the original, it works in way, but at points it begins to distract the listener and at other times it drags the song down. In my opinion the best track on the album is “Fishin’ in the dark / Down in the Boondocks,” musically it’s outstanding, it has a great breakdown, extreme lows, features everyone in the group well, and is an all around good time.

The album, in general is a really good listen. I highly recommend it. It is available on ITunes.