Since winning NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2013, Home Free has made an impressive mark on the music scene, selling more than 200,000 albums, and racking up more than 50 million YouTube views.
The country vocal quintet brings their high-energy performance to Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Wednesday night, the exact stage on which they last performed in the city in September 2015. Since then, the group has criss-crossed the globe, performing in virtually all corners of North America and throughout Europe in support of their third studio record, Country Evolution. Upon release in October 2015, the album skyrocketed up the Billboard Country Album Charts to debut in the No. 4 position, a definitive sign that the hard work the group has put in since its formation was paying off.
In the 19 months since they were last in Moncton, Home Free member Adam Chance estimates the group has performed well over 100 shows. While some members of the band juggle family responsibilities with being a part of an in-demand act, Chance says the band is still having the time of their lives.
“It doesn’t feel like we get to spend too much time at home, aside from a few days off here and there, but this is what we dreamed we would be able to do. This is what we’ve worked for,” he says.
Bass vocalist Chance is the newest member of Home Free, having joined the group when founding member Chris Rupp announced his amicable departure from the band just over one year ago.
“The path leading me to Home Free was unique in the sense that I hadn’t necessarily been all that immersed in acapella or vocal music. It wasn’t until college that I even really started singing. I started on the saxophone, and picked up the guitar along the way, playing in rock and folk bands. While in college, I decided to give choir a try, and completed two semesters,” Chance recalls.
“A couple of years later, I received a call from a guy that was part of the choir, who asked if I was interested in singing acapella. Initially, I wasn’t sure if it was something I would be interested in doing, but decided to give it a try. Just a few days later, I was singing on television with Street Corner Symphony.”
Founded in 2010, Street Corner Symphony, were a vocal group that went on to finish as the runners-up on the second season of The Sing Off, releasing their debut album the next year, and, somewhat coincidentally, would eventually go on to open shows for Home Free.
Looking back upon those initial performances with Street Corner Symphony, Chance admits being on stage without a musical instrument in his hands took some getting used to.
“It feels completely natural now, but it did take some getting used to. I was so used to being on stage with something in my hands, and absolutely felt naked those first few times I was on stage without those crutches to lean on. The world I came from and the world I found myself in were completely different from one another, but it helped give me an even greater appreciation of both.”
Chance shares that what he enjoys most about performing with Home Free is the fact the group is unique among many of their country peers. Rather than simply singing over top of a live band or pre-recorded tracks, Home Free is the band, as well as the vocalists singing the songs.
He acknowledges the band’s approach is far from conventional, but is one that he believes has helped the group win fans all over the world.
“There’s really no other group doing what we are doing, which is exciting as it gives the fans something a little different from what they might be expecting us to be. There are so many nights when we are meeting our fans after a show that people will come up to us and tell us how skeptical they were about the group at the outset of the performance or that they were dragged to the show and didn’t know what to expect from us, but that we ultimately converted them to fans. Those are the best, most rewarding experiences any band could ask for.”
Early next month, following the conclusion of their shows in the Maritimes, Maine and New Hampshire, Home Free will be headed across the ocean for their third tour of Europe, visiting countries including Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain along the way.
Chance says that contrary to the notion that Europeans are somehow uninterested in American country music, he says the reception afforded to the group has been one of the most passionate anywhere in the world.
“It’s been eye-opening to see how well the band has been received in Europe. On our first tour there, we performed at a country music festival in Austria and came on stage to see the crowd was decked out in western shirts and cowboy hats and was line dancing throughout our show. It was such a great experience for the group as we don’t often get that kind of audience participation and enthusiasm at some of our shows in the States,” Chance says, laughing.
What: Home Free
When: Wednesday April 26, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $36 for members, $39 for others. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at capitol.nb.ca