Home Free is an American a cappella group of five vocalists, Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist, Chris Rupp, Tim Foust and Adam Rupp. Starting as a show group, they toured around 200 shows a year across the United States. The group competed in and won the fourth season of The Sing-Off on NBC in 2013; singing an arrangement of Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy," as their final competitive song; earning the group $100,000 and a recording contract with Sony.
Home Free released their first album "Crazy Life" on February 18, 2014. It was released digitally on January 14, 2014.
The group Home Free was originally formed in 2000 in Mankato, Minnesota, when some of its members were still in their teens. The five founding members were brothers Chris and Adam Rupp, Matt Atwood, Darren Scruggs, and Dan Lemke. The group began as a hobby for the singers, but they gradually gained in experience and popularity. By 2007 they had enough of a following to pursue music full-time. During this period, the Rupp brothers and Atwood formed the core of the group, with Atwood singing lead tenor. Other members of the group came and went. Current member Rob Lundquist, another Minnesotan, joined in 2008.
For much of the group's history they worked with many talented bass singers, but did not have a full-time committed bass voice. In 2007 Chris Foss (currently a member of Cantus) sang with them. In September 2008 they added Elliott Robinson as bass (currently singing with the House Jacks), and in June 2009 he was replaced by Troy Horne. Later that year, Horne left to rejoin The House Jacks, and in 2011 Urban Method, another a cappella group. Urban Method competed in the third season of The Sing-Off, finishing in third place behind Pentatonix and the Dartmouth Aires. To replace Horne they turned to Tim Foust, who first sang with them as a guest on their 2010 tour. A Texas native, Foust was then pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter of country music and had recently released a solo album, but wasn't ready yet to sign on full-time. In the interim of 2011 Matthew Tuey sang with them for 6 months or so, until in January 2012 Tim Foust joined them full-time.
Matthew "Austin" Brown was born in Tifton, Georgia, son of a touring gospel singer. As a child he accompanied his father on some of his tours. As an adult he pursued a career as a professional singer. In the spring of 2012 he was working on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship as a featured singer in their production shows. When Home Free joined the cruise as a guest performing group, they met and became close. Brown let Home Free know that he would be interested in joining the group if they ever had an opening. At the end of 2012 lead singer Matt Atwood, who had gotten married the previous year, and his wife were expecting their first child. Finding the group's touring schedule incompatible with family life, and having an opportunity to take over his family's real estate business in Mankato, Atwood made the decision to retire from the group. Home Free then invited Brown to join as lead tenor. He sang his first show with the group in October 2012, and became full-time in January 2013 completing the current membership.
§Musical background and style
All five of Home Free's singers have formal musical training. Lundquist and the two Rupps each have bachelor's degrees in music. Adam Rupp's primary instrument is trumpet, but he also plays drums, keyboard, and bass guitar. Chris Rupp is an accomplished pianist and composer. He is credited as Home Free's musical director, and he does much of the group's writing and arranging. Since joining, Foust and Brown have also become very active in writing and arranging.
In terms of musical roles, Home Free is structured like a traditional barbershop quartet, with a lead tenor, two harmony voices, and a bass. The lead tenor, who fronts the group and sings most of the solos, is Austin Brown. Tenor harmony is sung by Rob Lundquist, baritone harmony is sung by Chris Rupp, and Tim Foust sings bass. In addition to the four voices, percussion sounds are provided by beatboxer Adam Rupp. Although Brown is Home Free's primary soloist, all of the other members occasionally sing solos as well.
Home Free's styling as a country group is relatively recent. Before Foust joined the group, Home Free was an all-purpose a cappella group, singing in a wide variety of styles, of which country was only a minor one. With the additions of Foust and Brown, the group moved more in the direction of country and found that audiences responded well to it. Home Free had three times auditioned for The Sing-Off (without Foust and Brown) and not been accepted. When auditioning for the fourth season, they made a conscious decision to style themselves as a country group. In an interview Brown said this identity is what grabbed the attention of The Sing-Off's casting director, who said, "You guys really fit something we don't have."