Trends are chased in the world of music like the paparazzi pursue Kardashians. Unique acts are as uncommon as humility at the Grammys.
However, there is no group quite like Home Free. The country a cappella quintet is content doing its own thing.
“There is no one in country doing what we’re doing,” vocalist Tim Foust said by phone from Wichita. “It’s not by design that we’re doing something different. This is what we’re passionate about. You don’t go into the music business looking for success. You go into it because you love it. Who would have ever thought we would get to this level?”
Home Free — which also includes Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist and Adam Rupp — is built like a traditional barbershop quartet. The ensemble has a lead tenor, a pair of harmony vocalists, a bass and a voice that provides percussion.
“I don’t think there was anyone out there thinking, ‘We need a group that sounds like us,’” Foust said. “We happened organically.”
Home Free is different sonically, but the group broke in a familiar manner, courtesy of a reality show. Home Free released five independent albums before it won the fourth season of “The Sing-Off” on NBC-TV.
“I love what that show did for us,” Foust said.
Who can blame the bandmates for looking back fondly at the show? It featured a cappella groups competing during its five-year run, which helped propel Home Free.
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The country vocal act springing from Mankato, Minn., was playing state fairs until impressing on “The Sing-Off.” The group won the contest and $100,000 in 2013.
“It gave us a huge boost,” Foust said. “The money was nice but the exposure was what was the most significant. I’ll never forget when we won.”
They had to keep mum, however, since they were under a gag order.
“We couldn’t tell anyone that we won the contest for two months, since we had to wait for the show to air — and that was difficult,” Foust said. “I remember watching one of the episodes when we were performing in Iowa. The weird thing was that I getting caught up in the emotion of it all even though I knew the outcome. The funniest part for me was when we played a state fair in Illinois just after we won. We were tucked behind a corn dog stand. I remember thinking, ‘We won ‘The Sing-Off,’ we’re never going to play behind a corn dog stand again after the show airs.’”
Not only did Home Free move on and play actual venues after the program was broadcast, Columbia Records signed the group to a recording contract.
“We achieved more than I ever thought that we could achieve,” Foust said. “It’s all been beyond my wildest dreams.”
Expect half holiday songs when Home Free performs Friday (12/21) at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids.
“We love singing Christmas songs,” he said. “We’ll split it 50/50 when we come back to Iowa. We have so much fun singing the songs from our Christmas albums. We go back to (2016’s) ‘Full of (Even More) Cheer’ and ‘Christmas Vol. 1’ and ‘Christmas Vol. 2’ (both were released in 2010). Christmas songs make you feel good.”
Home Free will work on its next album at the start of 2019.
“It’s about time to get down to business on that, but I’m not thinking about it too much since the focus at this moment are these shows. I’m focusing on the audience. We love to engage them. And there’s nothing like the Christmas songs.
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“This is our favorite time of the year partly because of the season and the other reason is that we get to sing Christmas songs. It’ll be like a living room show,” he said. “It’ll be relaxed and a good time.”
WHAT: Home Free: A Country Christmas Tour
WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday (12/21)
TICKETS: $27.50 to $249.50 VIP
GROUP’S WEBSITE: Homefreemusic.com