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on January 14, 2014
I admit I am not, in general, a country music fan, and I’ve never been a particular fan of a cappella music either, usually finding it to be somewhat cold and clinical as the necessary focus on the technical aspects of singing tends to suck most of the warmth and emotion out of it. But from the opening notes of their spirited and engaging version of “Cruise” on the first episode of season 4 of the Sing-Off (also available as an MP3 BTW), I fell completely head over heels in love with country a cappella group Home Free. Home Free was started by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp over a decade ago, but the more recent additions of mind-blowing bass Tim Foust and honey-voiced, charismatic lead tenor Austin Brown have launched this group into the stratosphere of potential superstardom. Well-deserved winners of season 4 of the Sing-Off, this group manages to combine the accessibility and humor of one genre with the skill and perfection of the other to create something new and compulsively listenable.

Crazy Life is Home Free’s first album to be released with a major record label and it’s a doozy. Regardless of the source, every song is filled with their trademark harmonies and unique personality. They breathe new life into the eclectic selection of covers, such as “Ring of Fire” (featuring Avi Kaplan, bass for season 3 Sing-Off winners Pentatonix) and “Wake Me Up,” and the delightful handful of original songs points to a very bright future in this area (original song “I’ve Seen” is just lovely, probably my favorite of the whole album).

So whether you are a fan of country music or not, or whether you are a fan of a cappella or not, do yourself a favor and give this group and this album a try. You’ll be amazed at the full and beautiful sound these guys are able to make with absolutely no instruments other than their voices. (I have to constantly remind myself that all that percussion is actually coming from a person!) And how refreshing is it to listen to music in which, by definition, all the ubiquitous overproduced, vocal-drowning background tracks are absent, and there is no Auto-Tune to be found anywhere! I’ve heard it said that in a cappella there is nowhere to hide, and Home Free shows that if you’ve got the goods, what’s left when everything else is removed is pure talent and pure enjoyment! Very highly recommended!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 14, 2014
These guys are so good that when I found out that Jan. 14 was the date of the MP3 release, I actually marked it on my calendar!

These songs have it all and Home Free's tight harmonies and individual talents are fantastic. Every one of them is great and together they're fantastic.

Adam does the beatboxing, but it doesn't sound artificial. It's a natural sound. Chris is a baritone and doesn't get enough credit for being able to harmonize in this difficult range. Rob has a sweet tenor and whistles in some songs. Tim is a natural bass. There's nothing forced to get anywhere in his three octave range. A phenomenal talent. Austin is the lead tenor - although four of them take the lead at various times in various songs. Austin has the most "power" and give the songs "oomph" when it's called for.

Again, their voices are natural. There's no gimmicks, screaming, yelling, or reaching for highs or lows. Can't wait for more CDs and videos.

ew
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on January 15, 2014
Home Free is best known for being the country a capella group that won season 4 of NBC's Sing Off, which is how I discovered them, but you wouldn't need to be a fan of country music or a capella music to enjoy this excellent album. I have it on pre-order, but was able to preview all eleven songs through the group's website via Sound Cloud, and found that I just can't get enough of Home Free's beautiful, well crafted music!

Though several of the songs are covers, Home Free's talented musicians devise new arrangements and build layered harmonies that create an impressive sound which needs no instruments but their own voices. Their beat boxer Adam Rupp is so good you might not even realize the songs are performed a capella at first if you didn't know it, because of the strong foundation he lays down for every song. And each member of the group has a unique solo quality voice, yet they are also able to blend beautifully together in perfect harmony.

For viewers of the Sing Off, you'll recognize 2 of the songs they sang on that show. Their amazing rendition of the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" elicited a standing ovation from the audience and the judges, cementing their position during the competition as the group to beat. It also showed off bass singer Tim Foust's incredibly rich and seemingly effortless vocal range of over 4 octaves (and the version on this album includes a guest vocalist Avi Kaplan of the group which won Season 3 of Sing Off, Pentatonix, so you get two great bass singers for the price of one.) "I Want Crazy" was Home Free's final performance on the show, and here it is part of a Hunter Hayes medley that employs clever harmonies to segue seamlessly from song to song. It features the versatility of their truly stellar lead tenor, Austin Brown, whose flawless voice and winning delivery runs the gamut from playful to heartfelt and finally passionate. (And I enjoyed Home Free’s cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up even better than the original, due to Brown’s emotive lead vocals and great scat singing, as well as the group’s strong supporting harmonies and rhythms.)

Their fun cover of the Zac Brown band's "Jump Right In" has a festive, infectious Caribbean flavor and a charming lead vocal by second tenor Rob Lundquist, along with a delightful array of rhythms, harmonies and sound effects provided by the rest of the group. And Home Free's musical director and baritone Chris Rupp (founding member of the group along with his brother Adam) is finally featured singing lead in their version of Keith Urban's "A Little Bit of Everything." Though Chris seemed to be the selfless, unsung hero of Home Free during the course of the Sing Off, his smooth, confident and laconic performance is just right for this laid back little love song, and shows the depth of talent in this group of fine musicians.

Crazy Life includes several songs previously included in the solo album of singer/songwriter Tim Foust, ("Champagne Taste," "Your Man," and "I've Seen") but the new versions performed by the whole group add country flavor to this collection. "Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget" is cute and funny, with a terrific tongue in cheek performance by Foust and a cheerful whistling accompaniment by Lundquist that provides a clever change of pace.

Since I haven't seen the liner notes for the album, I don't know the origins of the remaining three songs, "Any Way the Wind Blows," "Everything Will Be Okay," and "Crazy Life" but all three are great and have superb lead vocals from Austin, Rob and Tim. Any or all of these songs could be pop hits in my estimation if they can get some radio play, with their deft vocals, enjoyable melodies, expert harmonies and thoughtful lyrics. For anyone like me who is tired of the mostly mindless and/or offensive music that seems to dominate the charts these days, here is a much needed alternative. There wasn't a single song on this album that made me want to hit the skip button; instead I wanted to listen to the whole thing over and over. I would love to see this recording become a big hit to ensure that this gifted group continues to make beautiful music together.
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on January 14, 2014
Wow, just wow! These five guys have an amazing range of talent, especially tenor-to-bass singer Tim Foust. I love that they all have a chance to sing lead on the various songs. Even though I'm not really a fan of country music, I LOVE this album. It exhibits a nice variety of musical styles and makes a terrific debut of their awesome talent. I downloaded the mp3 version, but I also pre-ordered the CD. Well done, Home Free! Well done, indeed.
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on June 30, 2014
Hands-down the best musical act to hit the national stage in a long, long time. This CD will solidly trump any preconceived expectations that anybody may have about this incredible group, and completely dispel your existing perceptions of a cappella. This group, and this album, is exciting, vibrant, and re-defines the genre of a cappella music. You will not believe how incredibly good this group , and this collection of songs, really is until you hear it first-hand. You will not be disappointed. To truly appreciate the scope and depth of this album, you must listen to it on a good set of speakers. But first things first...buy this incredible album. You'll be thankful that you did.
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on June 30, 2014
I seriously have not stopped listening to this album since I bought it on release day. So much talent between these 5 guys - and when you get the chance, see them live. They sound even better (if that's possible) in person.

The range and harmonies on this album are amazing. Adam Rupp's beatboxing skills are second to none. When I shared their music with my mom recently, she would continually ask me "are you sure there's no drums on this album?"

You don't have to be a fan of country or a fan of a capella to love this album - though it is a fantastic example of both - but if you are a fan of good music then you'll love this album. I can't wait to hear what's coming next.
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on January 15, 2014
So proud to have such amazing talent coming from my neck of the woods! I regret I hadn't heard of these guys before The Sing-Off, but there was no better choice to win the competition. This first release shows all of their excellence vocally and in writing and vocal arrangement. I was looking forward to the "Ring of Fire" rendition from the competition, but I'm happy to have been introduced to Avi Kaplan. I look forward to so much success from them. Proud to be a Home Fry!
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on January 20, 2014
I love Home Free. I was rooting for them from day one on The Sign Off. This CD is good, but it feels too processed. There is definitely more going on that just the 5 of them singing. For example, on "Your Man" Tim is singing the lead and the bass line at the same time. Personally, I prefer a more "live" sound to their performances. They are so good they don't need all this extra studio trickery. So, 5 stars for Home Free themselves, and take away one star for their music producer for not having faith in their voices alone.
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on June 25, 2014
Love, love, love "Your Man" which just resonates with that deep beauty of a voice. So many upbeat tempos just make you feel good and that "Everything will be okay" These voices blend so beautifully and the arrangements are superb.
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on January 28, 2014
Awesome album! Showcases so much talent it's ridiculous. Even if you don't consider yourself a country fan (as I really don't), this album is great. It's been on repeat in my car, my office, my house.... everywhere! So smooth and so much fun!
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