A cappella country group goes from ‘Sing-Off’ win to ‘Home Fries’ fan baseBy ROB LEVEY
Special to the Union Leader July 11. 2018 1:26PM
If you go...WHO: Home Free
WHERE: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 160 Ocean Blvd., Hampton
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday
TICKETS: $19 to $67
INFO: casinobalroom.com; 929-4100
WHERE: The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St., Keene
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
TICKETS: $39 to $69
INFO: thecolonial.org; 352-2033
Catapulted into the national spotlight with a Season 4 win on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2013, the vocal group Home Free returns to the Granite State this month as part of its Timeless World Tour.
The Minnesota-based group is known as for its country-tinged a cappella, but tenor Rob Lundquist acknowledges the musicians didn’t start out with that focus.
“Home Free wasn’t always a country group,” he told NHWeekend. “We would perform things from all genres to try and reach a broad audience.”
Still, he and his band mates noticed that it was the country songs that seemed to get the biggest reaction from crowds.
“Once we added Tim (Foust) and then Austin (Brown), we started adding more and more country music to the repertoire,” Lundquist said. “(Brown) had pitched becoming a country group right before we auditioned for ‘The Sing Off,’ and the producers of the show agreed, so we became a country group. It’s for sure the best decision we ever made.”
In addition to Foust (bass) and Brown (high tenor), the group includes Adam Chance (baritone) and Adam Rupp (vocal percussionist/beatboxer). The lineup is scheduled to play two shows in New Hampshire this week, the first Thursday night at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom and the second Friday at The Colonial Theatre in Keene.
The experience on “The Sing-Off” itself, however, was as intense as it was amazing, according to Lundquist, who recalled rehearsing and working up to 15 hours daily for two months.
“We met wonderful people who will be life-long friends and really learned how to thrive as a band,” he said. “We would be arranging, learning and choreographing three songs a week. We learned to become very efficient with our time, which I think was an advantage we had over some of the other groups. Never thought we would win the whole thing, but so thankful we did.”
Before that show the band had gained regional success, but the television competition “definitely catapulted and shined an international spotlight on us,” Foust said.
The band stepped up its touring and recording soon after.
“We tried to release two videos a month onto YouTube so our new fans would not be able to forget about us,” Lundquist said.
For its New Hampshire shows, Home Free will mix “originals with signature covers from ‘The Sing-Off,’ our YouTube channel and our albums as well as some surprises,” Foust said.
The shows aren’t scripted, though, and vary from venue to venue, Lundquist said. If it’s an outdoor festival, Home Free tends to keep the set list a little more upbeat.
“We want to keep people’s attention and not have them leaving to get a hot dog or something,” he said.
If it is a theater show with a full stage setup and lights, the band tends to add more ballads to provide variety and “more of a complete show,” Lundquist said.
As for life on the road, Lundquist said it has its ups and down, but overall the band “loves seeing new places and meeting all of our wonderful fans. The hardest thing about being on the road so often is being away from our families,” he said.
Lundquist was enthusiastic for the Europe portion of their tour.
“Our future looks bright,” he said. “We’ve just signed with CAA (a talent booking agency), and we are gaining fans all over the world,” he said. “As long as people keep coming out and watching us perform live, we’re going to keep creating music for our Home Fries” (what the band’s fan base calls themselves.)