Home Free have come to a fork in the road, but they've been here before.

The a capella group have built the kind of fanbase artists dream of when they move to Nashville, but they did it without fully relocating and without any help from the commercial country machine.

Adam Rupp (not present for this interview) is the only original member remaining, and after this year, he'll welcome a new bandmate. Talking to Taste of Country, the popular vocal group (more than 1.7 million subs on YouTube) estimate that 20 or 30 guys have come or gone in the nearly two decades since they formed in Mankato, Minn.

"This is a tough life," bass Tim Foust says. "Even if you love music, even if you love traveling, it's not for everybody. And a lot of people figured that out along the way, you know?"

Adam Chance is the newest member of Home Free, replacing co-founder Chris Rupp in 2016. After this year, Austin Brown is leaving, but the rest of the group says going through the transition before helps. In fact, they've got secret plans for the end of 2024.

Foust, Brown, Chance and Rob Lundquist talked to Taste of Country Nights x host Evan Paul about their new Crazy(er) Life album, tour, plans for the year and the response from the artists they cover. It's been mostly positive.


Find the full, unedited conversation in the video at the top or during this episode of Taste of Country Nights, On Demand.

Taste of Country: As an a capella group, do you guys get weird requests?

Austin Brown: We sure do, buddy.

Rob Lundquist: A lot of Happy Birthdays, for sure, every show.

Foust: Yeah, I guess it's just cause you are a capella, people think you can do it anytime on the spot, any song without any rehearsal.

It was interesting to me, we told you guys, like, "Hey, sing Happy Birthday," and then to see you guys rehearse it real quick ... It's like seeing Derek Jeter doing a practice.

Brown: He gets in the on deck circle.

Your new album, it has a lot of covers and originals, like "Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget." When you cover songs like "Ring of Fire," do you ever hear from the families of the artists?

Foust: We usually either hear from the original artist or the estate and 99 percent of the time, we get their blessing, which is wonderful.

What's the 1 percent?

Brown: We don't talk about that.

Foust: I can only remember one time, you know, where we asked for permission, which you don't even really technically have to do these days. You know, you pay the royalty. But we asked permission, and only one person was like, no, don't sing my song.

Has there ever been an original artist that was upset? 

Foust: No, and as a matter of fact, you know, we were kind of nervous about doing a song like "Ring of Fire" because we took it outside the box, and then we did a version of "Elvira" that's way outside the box, too. And the Oak Ridge Boys loved it so much, they decided to sing it with us on our album.

What's the wildest song you've considered putting your stamp on? 

Brown: Probably, like, one of those things for April Fools a few years ago, right?

Foust: Yeah. Like, we've gotten requests to do "Bohemian Rhapsody" a lot, and that's one of those songs that we're like, that one is untouchable, you know? Like, no one should mess with that as far as we're concerned. So for April Fools, we did just, like, the intro to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and then went into (Rick Astley's) "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Yeah, we rickrolled him.

That's cool. That's cool.

Brown: Pissed a lot of people off. It was great.

What's the weirdest song you guys have done?

Foust: We have a whole medley of songs about butts.

Home Free Crazy(er) Life Album Cover
Home Free Records

Okay. Okay.

Yeah. Now, I would say the thing that surprised us the most is we did a Shakira song that was from the movie Zootopia, and it's still pretty popular. It's one of those songs that, like, people just, like, lose their minds when we do it. And every once in a while, we'll, like, do it at a country music festival and be like, eventually people are gonna turn on us for this.

And you just see just rednecks out there just, like, fist bumping to Shakira now.

Why is Austin leaving the band?

Brown: You know, we all go through seasons in our life, and I met a woman many years ago. We became friends. I got married, and I just want to be home with her. I want to set the foundation to raise my kids, never have to leave and figure out how to do it at home.

I've had such a good time on the road with these guys. We still have a lot of work to do. I'm so excited to finish this out. I feel like we still have the Super Bowl in front of us. You know what I mean? So I'm like, I'm so here right now.

So I kind of want to pivot and figure out how to make it work there. I love these guys. Hopefully we still perform together every once in a blue moon.

This album's kind of a greatest hits of your songs. Do you wait until after this transition to write and record your next studio album?

Well, we're always writing and recording. We kind of aggressively release singles and music videos. So, no, it's nonstop.

Do you ever switch parts?

Lundquist: Yeah. I mean, he (Foust) sounds super low, but he also is one of the highest singers in the group. He'll go up and do tenor one a lot of the time.

Brown: Isn't that crazy?

I have no idea what that is.

Brown: He sings the high part a lot of the time. If I'm singing the lead, typically, and it's a particularly high song, he will sing the part above me, you know, in his falsetto, and Rob will sing baritone while Chance is singing bass.

That's crazy. What's next for you guys after this project?

Foust: I don't know if we're allowed to say any spoilers. I'm looking at our manager. But we are going to be releasing another album at the end of the year. That's all I'll say.

Like all new stuff.

That's all I'll say.

PICTURES: See the Nastiest Band Breakups in Country Music History

Country music is a little more polite in public than some genres, but that doesn't mean the gloves don't come off in private. We tend to assume all of our favorite country artists are good friends with their bandmates, but when they go their separate ways, sometimes the truth turns out to be very different.

Gallery Credit: Sterling Whitaker