Saturday, 19 December 2015

A World Made of Love

I woke up this morning and got amazed, but not surprised. As I told you in my latest post a few days ago; on this past Monday Home Free was scheduled to perform with Kenny Rogers on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Due to circumstances beyond their control and just as they had chartered a private jet to do everything in their power to get there on time the show pulled the plug as they were not going to make it in time for the rehearsal. It was heartbreaking and even more so when they found out they couldn't get a refund on the money they had spent on the jet, especially since it was money they didn't really have.

In opposite of popular beliefs they don't make a lot of money. They make enough to have good lives, meaning they have homes to go home to and they don't have to starve, but they don't make much more. This is due to a number of things such as the record label taking most of what they make on the albums they sell, the band only gets pennies on the dollar (in Chris' own words). They don't actually make any money from Patreon as they put all the money into making new, and more, awesome videos for us all to enjoy. And even though they do around 250 shows a year they don't actually make a lot of money on it. They keep the ticket prices low so people can afford to attend the shows, and bring their friends, but they still have to pay for venues, rent of the RV, wages/salaries for their staff, food, hotels, insurances, equipment, clothes, flights and anything else that is needed for them to put on a show for all of us fans to enjoy. And we know they do that!

So, the cost of that jet was a deep cut into their pockets. 

The Fries have been telling them that we want to help out with that unexpected cost, over and over again, and last night the band started a GoFundMe to raise 2/3 of the money the jet cost. That means 10,000 dollar, the jet cost 15,000 dollar to rent. That is a whole lot of money for most people to come up with just like that, but they had to it to know that had tried everything to get there. Setting up this fund was a very hard decision for the Guys to make. It is never easy to ask for help, most people struggle with it, and for artists to do so must be a whole lot harder than for the regular person to do it, because you have a reputation to maintain, a good name to keep good, and asking for help, especially financial help, is a sensitive subject. In the end they figured that we have been offering, and begging them, to help and life is not all about giving it is also about receiving. So they went for it. Bravely so. I have a hard time asking to borrow even a few euros, so I know it must have scared them to put it all out there. I'm glad they did and I bet they are too.

In 45 minutes the goal was reached.

That's right. It only took 45 minutes. Mind-blowing. And yet, not surprising at all. And it's not over because even though the actual goal of 10,000 dollar was reached the Fries keep on giving. Not because the Guys asked us to, but because we want to. At this moment it is almost up to 22,000 dollar. I think we all think that they might need that money to charter a jet at some other time in their career, maybe to get to the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and when they do; boy, will they have a great story to tell. Jimmy will not be sorry.

And me being me, I can't help but think that this is the true reason why things happened the way they did. Maybe the Guys of Home Free needed to be shown how great our - their fans, their Home Fries - love for them is. Maybe we needed to show them. There is a special bond between them and us that is unique, and this proves it. The fact that they trust us, the Fries, enough to let us help them, and the fact that we are so willing and eager to be there for them, is proof that the world of Home Free and their fans is a great place to be. It is a world made of love.

So, why do we love them, so much. It is because they love so much, it is because every day they show their fans so much love and appreciation. We just give them back of what they give to us. And we just give each other and the people around us of what they give to us, and of what we give to each other. Again, it is a world made of love.

It is not unusual for a Fry not able to afford a ticket to a show to get a free ticket from another Fry. It is not unusual for a Fry to pick up another Fry and give her a ride to a show if she can not get there on her own. The world of the Fries is a world filled with loving and caring stories of Fries helping Fries, just because we want to, out of honest love and care. Why should we not extend that to the Guys of Home Free when it all starts with them? Why should we not share the amazing experience of giving and receiving unconditional love with those who so willingly give it to us first? It only makes sense to me. They, Home Free, are the love that brings us all together.

This is why we love them. This is why we; Home Free and the Home Fries; are making history. Not just music history because we, as Austin said, are giving the power back to the artist, but also because we are focusing on love and joy, we are spreading love and joy all around us, we are literally making the world a better place to live in. A world made of love. And it all starts with Home Free.

I know they are grateful and appreciative of all the Fries that are supporting them in whichever way they can and do, but I would like to thank them, the Guys, from the bottom of my heart, from the depth of my soul and the core of who I am. Because I am a better person that live a better life in a better world thanks to them. Thank you! Truly and honestly. Thank you!

The Guys of Home Free; Austin, Chris, Rob, Adam and Tim; and all of their loyal and loving Home Fries make my heart grow bigger. They make my world a world made of love.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

I'll Be Home For Christmas

The last couple of days have been very exciting days for Home Free and the Home Fries, both happy exciting and disappointing, and just stressful.

A few days ago they announced that they had been invited by Kenny Rogers to sing "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" with him on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on the 14th, as in yesterday. They, and the Fries, where all very happy and excited about it. It happened to be on a rare day off in the middle of their "Home Free For the Holidays"-tour, this year's Christmas tour, so it was perfect.

They set out to fly from Nashville early yesterday morning but ran into flight problems. They actually boarded two different planes, and were de-boarded from both; then they were booked on yet another flight; but mechanical problems and weather conditions were working against them. So they ended up chartering a private jet to get to New York, and just as they had done so the show pulled the plug because they had no chance of making it there in time for rehearsal. They were so bummed, so heart broken, and it was so hard to follow their tweets without having my heart bleeding for them. This was a dream about to come true, that got broken in the last minute. However, they were not defeated and since the jet was already paid for they decided to fly there to support Kenny anyway.

They got to meet Jimmy Fallon and his crew, they met Channing Tatum (hello, handsome) and they got to hang out with Mr Rogers in the green room where they watched the airing of the show, chatted about old country legends and they even sang through the song with him without anybody else being around. A memory to treasure for them, I'm sure.

The Fries on the other hand got busy tweeting and messaging Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show to re-book Home Free, to give them a second chance and invite them back and other variations on the same subject. I have a mental picture of Fallon and his crew sitting there, scratching their heads, wondering wth happened to their twitter as it must have exploded all of a sudden, I know I had a few hundred nofications about it. Woooaaa! Never underestimate the power of the Fries! Of course, we don't know if it did any good, but at least they must have noticed both the Guys and their loyal fans. And the Guys felt our support and love which were much needed. They have all expressed their gratitude for the love we all showed them. As is their style. That's one of the reasons we love them so much.

Anyway, one way or another it so happened they announced that were going to be on a different TV-show early this morning instead. It was not their first appearance on Fox & Friends, they've been on there a couple of times before, but this time it was well needed, I think. Certainly for us fans, but obviously mostly for the Guys.

In my honest opinion things worked out in a great way because Jimmy Fallon never even spoke to Kenny Rogers on the show. Kenny just sang his song, and that was it. If Home Free had been on there they would have been the back-up singers to him, and then nothing else. People might have thought they were good, but not thought much more of it. Kenny is the big name. Kenny would have been in focus and would have gotten all the attention, at least to the audience sitting in front of the television sets at home.

On Fox & Friends, they were mentioned and lightly talked about before coming on and when they came on they were talked to both before and after they sang. And, boy oh boy, did they sing!! Rob sang like an angel. It was so beautiful I think the angels up in heaven must have cried. They all sounded absolutely amazing! It was more than perfect.

Maybe not as many people are reached by Fox & Friends as by the Tonight Show, but being in focus instead of being a back-up must be a lot better. I love the support and love they are getting from Kenny Rogers, it is amazing to see everything he is trying to do, and does, for Home Free, but it's out there now. He sings the song with Home Free on video in the background on every show during his "Once Again It's Christmas" tour, they are featured on his album, they have the video with them all singing together and he brought them to the Tonight Show and surely Jimmy Fallon must be curious and have their eyes on them now. But maybe, just maybe, this worked out better for them in the end.

The video-clip of them singing on TV this morning is up on the show's Facebook page, and it already has more than 50,000 views (5,5 hours after it was posted). So maybe, the flight problems were a blessing in disguise. I always believe things happen because there are greater things waiting instead.

So, what song did they sing?

They sang one of my all-time favourite Christmas songs "I'll Be Home For Christmas". It was originally written for soldiers during WWII, and performed by Bing Crosby. Home Free dedicates it to soldiers and their families that have to spend the holidays apart. Their just released video for the song is heartwarming and moving with real footage of returning soldiers surprising their families at Christmas time mixed with the five Guys of Home Free sitting in a Christmas dressed cabin, just singing. It brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. The combination of Rob's soulful and angelic voice and the footage of happy families re-united hits home even after having seen it 20 times or so.

I have spent Christmas all alone because I couldn't go home to my family because of work, but I can't even imagine what it must be like to be at war, or to have a loved one at war. All I know is that it was one of the hardest and saddest days of my life knowing that they, my family, were all there together and I was all alone. It was a very good lesson to go through, though, because it certainly made me look upon the holiday season with different eyes. Whether you are near or far from the people you love the most, remember to share your love in any way you can.

Of course, today's video is the video already mentioned, if you want to see the live performance from this morning you can find it right here, but first check out the video below.


Saturday, 12 December 2015

Speaking Of;

Last night we had our annual Christmas Dinner with work. As always it was a lot of fun and I wish I hadn't had to leave early, but I did. The setting was charming with a mixture of old and new decor; all my colleagues, more than 100 of us, where dressed up and stunningly beautiful (I must say we clean up really well); the spirit was high and by the time I left people were dancing their butts off on the dance floor. The food; well, some of it was very nice, but other things a disappointment. I didn't mind it too much though, as I'm having another Christmas Dinner tonight. And I know the food will be great at this one because I'm cooking half of the dishes myself.

Speaking of this dinner tonight; it's with good friends of ours and it will be the fifth year in a row we're having it. We take turns in who's house we're having it, and this year we're in our friends house. Makes it easier for me because I don't have to worry about cleaning, setting tables and other things like that, just cooking. I've made meatballs, and the traditional Christmas ham is in the oven. I've also made a rise porridge which is the base for the dessert, just mix it with some sweet whipped cream and add pieces of oranges and/or mandarins. It's called Ris a la Malta, and it's yum.

Speaking of Malta; that's where the company I'm doing my freelance writing for is based and I'm working on my first assignment for them right now, and will be dedicating tomorrow to it as I've got a deadline on midnight Monday.

Speaking of Monday; exciting Home Free news reached us the other day. They will be on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon together with Kenny Rogers and the Roots on Monday. How cool is that!! As a true and dedicated Home Fry I cried of excitement and joy. I love being part of this time in their careers when so many fantastic things happen. The sky truly is their limit, or maybe as my son once said, why limit yourself to the sky when there is a whole universe out there. True dat!

Todays video will be a Christmas song, but it won't be Home Free, it will be a cappella, though. I've mentioned Peter Hollens before, but I must say this is one of my favourite arrangements of his. What he does is that he uses only his own voice, but layers it. His vocal range is fantastic as is his voice. It's easy to understand why he has more than a million subscribers on YouTube.

Here's "Mary Did You Know?" with Peter Hollens.

Happy Saturday, y'all!


Monday, 7 December 2015

VoicePlay Medley

This blog post will not be about Home Free (say what?) even though they have got a fantastic new video out. I will write about that in another post coming to your home soon-ish.

No, this will not be a post about Home Free, but it will be about A Cappella, and more specifically about my second favourite A Cappella group. (Sorry Boys, but my deepest love is for Home Free, I just can't help it). This group was also on the Sing Off the year Home Free was, and they were my runner ups then too. Well, not at the exact time the show aired because I didn't watch it until like a year later, but you get my drift.

This group also consists of five guys, and they are also very funny, and cute in their own different ways. And they can sing with great harmonies, they have a great beat boxer with his own personality, and they have an amazing bass singer. So, basically they are like Home Free, but they are not because their personality and dynamic is completely different, but still great. And they don't do country, although they do do a great Elvira live, and Home Free's version was an arrangement by one the boys in this group..

I'm not going into any details about these guys or this group right now, I'll get to that eventually, I will however share some of my favourite videos with them, because just as Home Free they are producing videos as often as most people change their underwear, Well, maybe not quite that often, I just couldn't think of anything people do once or twice a month or so.

Oh, by the way, they are called VOICEPLAY!! Remember it, because you'll hear more about them.

  • This first video is one of my favourites, and it is a collaboration with Rachel Potter (an amazing singer) on The Phantom of The Opera. Of course, I'm loving this even more because I actually have tickets to see the Phantom when I'm in London in January. 

Here is the Phantom A Cappella Style,

Did you get goosebumps? I sure did.

  • Next up is their latest video. It's perfect because I've always wondered what I would or could give a Wookiee for Christmas,. Haven't you?

What can I say? Not a huge fan of Star Wars, but this had me laughing out loud. And how about those sweet harmonies?

  • VoicePlay has a video series they call ACA TOP 10 where they do a medley of their top 10 favourites on a certain theme. They are all great, but this one is my favourite. Maybe because I like musicals. 

Which one is your favourite? I can't even pick just one, there are just so many great ones.

  • Christmas is getting closer, and today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent. I put my Christmas Tree up tonight and well, I just love the bass in this version of White Christmas. Seriously, just listen to it. 

Are you blown away yet?

  • Last, but certainly not least, is VoicePlay's "Come join us on Patreon"-video. It's funny, and after you watched it you should head over to Patreon and support them. 

I'm still laughing. Aren't these boys great?

I promise you I will give you more posts about VoicePlay, because they are just that great!

That's it for today. It's just gone midnight here and I've got a busy week ahead of me, but a week filled with fun, friends, great music, laughter and 2 Christmas dinners! Oh, and some work and writing, but that's mostly fun too.


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas Is Coming - Bearing Great Gifts

First Gift For Christmas this year! I got a job! Well, another job, a job I will do on the side of my regular job, but a job I am sure I will love doing in a lot of ways. You see, I got a job as a freelance content writer! Yay me! I am so excited about it  and can't wait to get my first assignment. I am actually going to get paid for writing! Well done, me! It won't pay all that much, but it will be enough to cover my Home Free addiction and then some. The important thing to me is that I will be writing, and I will make money doing it. How cool is that?

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. This is the day we start putting out and up our Christmas decorations. Most people do a little bit now and then the rest just before Christmas. I do it differently every year depending what I feel like doing. This year I put some of it up today and I will do some more next Sunday.

Another thing we do this day is to light the first out of four candles and then one more candle will be lit every Sunday for the next three until all four candles are shining brightly, and that Sunday will be Sunday before Christmas.

I did some baking today, I made Lussebullar, or Lussekatter as they are also called. They are sweet saffron buns that we only have this time of year. The Swedes are quite traditional in their Christmas food in the way that we have a lot of dishes we only make or eat at Christmas time, but some we have for other holidays too. That's one of the things I love about the Swedish Christmas, the food. It is lovely and very tasty, and the fact that only get to have it for Christmas makes it even better. And it helps make Christmas more special too. I will have Christmas dinner three times this year, as most years. The first will be with my office. We always have a nice Christmas smörgåsbord (spread, smorgoesboard) every year at some nice place. The night after we will have Christmas dinner together with our friends, this will be the fifth year we have it, We take turns at their house or our house, and we cook half of it each. We do Swedish Christmas food because she is part Swedish and our bf's love it even though they are British. It is always a great night with a lot of fun. And then of course for Christmas Eve when we celebrate our Christmas. The rest of the holiday will be devoted to left overs.

I ordered some gifts for myself for Christmas. I have been looking at and wanting a t-shirt and a hoodie from the Home Free Store for quite some time now, but with the price for the shipping I didn't really find it price worthy and important enough right now, especially with the trip to the UK coming up in January, but as they put them both on sale for Black Friday I took the chance and ordered them both. Happy days! Keep your fingers crossed the sizes will be good for me. It is very different sizes in the US compared to here.

Tuesday is the 1st of December and that day kicks off the advent calendar counting up to Christmas Eve, and so I'm thinking my video for today should be one with one in it. This is a Home Free Original, written by Tim Foust. If you haven't seen it before make sure to have your tissues ready to wipe your tears away. Here's Full of Cheer!


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Return of the Blogger

Hello, good people of the internet world, and especially my readers!

How are you all doing? I am very well, thanks for asking!

As you have noticed I haven't been around at all for a long time. I felt I needed a bit of a break, but I am back again now.

So much have happened, well, that was probably an exaggeration but some things have happened.

In my life of writing absolutely nothing has happened for a long time, which is why I needed the break, I just hit a wall when it came to all writing and I needed to re-evaluate it. What is it that I love about writing? Why do I want to write? For whom do I want to write? What do I expect from it? And other questions of similar kind have been floating around in my head. I don't have it all in place yet, but I'm getting there, and I know that when it all fits again I will have taken a step further up the staircase leading me to where I am going.

Unfortunately this means there will not be a book released this year, but don't worry, it will be there when the timing for it is right.

My personal life is the same as before; the same boyfriend, cats and son; although we have been crazy busy at work which has left me exhausted and tired and with a lack of creativity and energy outside of work. It's not ideal but I do still love my job, mainly because of my amazing colleagues. I am so happy to have them in my day-to-day life.

So, what about Home Free? I know you are all wondering, because let's face it, this blog has become in big parts a blog about them.

Well, they are currently on a break between their Don't It Feel Good Tour that ended about a week ago, and their Home Free For the Holidays Tour that begins on the 1st of December and will be leading up to Christmas. After that they have a break before coming to Europe! Yay! We are ready for them!

Oh, and I'm sure you all know by now that they finally released more dates for Europe but here it is if you didn't;

  • 27th of January; Birmingham, England
  • 28th of January; St Andrews, Scotland
  • 29th of January; Dublin, Ireland
  • 30th of January; London, England. 
You can get tickets to all the shows except the London show at their website. The London show is sold out as far as individual tickets are concerned, but you can still see them if you get the (full) Festival Pass for the London A Cappella Festival. The Festival Pass is more expensive, but will give you access to a whole lot of other acts like Naturally 7 and the Swingles as well as workshops and some other fun activities. You can find more information about the Festival and the Festival Passes on their website

Y'all know I have a VIP ticket, and my sister has a front row ticket, for London, but you might not know that we also have regular tickets for the Birmingham show. Yiiipppiiiiee!!! After all, that will be their real European debut, and I just had to be there for it! And thanks to the same Fry Angel Friend that helped me get my VIP ticket, we have at least a chance of getting to the Birmingham show in time before the show starts without having to pay for a 2-2,5 hour taxi ride.

You see, it is a matter of things falling perfectly into place; my sister's flight need to be on time, her luggage need to arrive on the belt quickly and the weather and the traffic need to be on our side too. My Fry Angel Friend is picking us up at the airport on her way to the show. If everything falls into place smoothly she should arrive there at about the same time my sister gets through customs and everything, and I am completely confident that they will, because, why else would things be naturally lining up like that. Send everybody that might have an effect on the outcome some love, you know; pilots, other airport staff, other people in the traffic and so on! Thanks!

On to other subjects; we are coming up to Christmas. Hooray! In Sweden we have the tradition of Advent with the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve (which is when we celebrate Christmas), and next Sunday is the 1st Sunday of Advent. This means putting up at least some of the Christmas decorations. I can't wait,

But, as someone who used to live where it was snow, darkness and pretty lights in all the windows during December (Swedes put electrical candles in their windows that light up the darkness) finding the "right" Christmas feeling is more work when living somewhere where it is blue skies, sunlight and a lot warmer. It doesn't come as naturally because all of those things are a part of it. So, I have to find ways to build it up deliberately instead.

Over the years I have found that smells, tastes and sounds are most important, so beginning next weekend I will start baking traditional Swedish Christmas yummies such as saffron buns and ginger snaps. Or maybe I'll buy some of it, because I can and it's less messy and saves time. The Swedish Christmas food is quite traditional, but I'll get into that some more when we're getting closer. Next Sunday our friends will be over for some Christmas dinner planning, some Glögg (mulled wine) and some saffron buns and ginger snaps. This is when Christmas becomes real every year.

Another very important thing to me this time of year is the music. I have to have Christmas music! I love Christmas music, always have and always will, and of course, Home Free has some of the best Christmas music out there. And, yes, I am partial because I already love them, but over the next month I will be sharing their Christmas music with you, just because I've been waiting to do so for months now, so if you haven't already heard their Christmas songs prepare yourself for some ear goodies!

First out is the newest one. I had never heard this song before we heard that they were going to collaborate with the one and only Kenny Rogers on it for Kenny's new Christmas album (another great album, btw) Once Again It's Christmas. I of course looked it up on YouTube and I didn't really like it. So, I was a bit skeptic. Of course, I should have known better. After all it is Home Free, my greatest music love of all times, together with one of my first loves in music. Kenny Rogers (and Dolly Parton) was my introduction to country music when I was just a kid and I have loved his voice ever since. Now, having said that; I still wasn't too excited when I first heard it, but I bought it and put it on my playlist, and the more I heard it the more I liked it. And now, now I absolutely love it. It is happy and fun and it has the trademarks of Home Free's unbeatable beats and unbelievably tight harmonies along with the strong, raspy and yet smooth voice of Kenny Rogers. The video shows the five men of Home Free looking sleek, all decked up in suits and vests, and Kenny with his white hair and beard in a red shirt and cowboy boots in the middle, like a countrified Santa Claus. It is perfect and simple and distinguished. It is Christmas. So, even if at first listen or look you don't really like this song, give it a few listens. Feel the song, hear the fun and the different parts of it. The details are so much fun in this song.

Anyway, that's it from me for now. I am glad to be back. I'll see you soon. Have fun, spread the love and take care!

Here's "Children, Go Where I Send Thee".



Sunday, 11 October 2015

Ups, Downs, Love, Joy, Music = My Life

What's up, y'all?

So, it's been a while since I posted anything that wasn't Home Free related, and today is not the day to do it either. But it's not all about Home Free, and the music isn't Home Free's music. Say what? Yes, I'm featuring another one of my favourite musicians today. But first;

I am so happy to let you all now that I have found a home for my second ticket to Home Free's show at the London A Cappella Festival, you know the front row seat one. None other than my amazing and wonderful baby sister will be joining me in London for 4 whole nights! Yaaay! It is so great that I get to spend my first few days ever in London with her. We live so far apart, she's in Sweden and I'm in Spain, and we don't get to see each other even close to often enough, and I am so happy that I get to treat her to this. She is a Home Free fan, but not a hard core Fry yet, but she will be after the show, of course. I am even more excited about this trip now! I didn't think that was even possible!

I also want to mention that we all need to stop stressing and rushing around and at least once a day we need to stop, take a breath and enjoy all the good things we all have in the lives we live. Because, well, you are alive. That is something worth being grateful for every single day. You are alive right now, that can change very quickly. My son and his colleagues were witnesses to one of their newest colleagues being hit by a car and killed when they were leaving their office on Tuesday evening. The woman that were killed had dreamed her whole life about living in Spain, and she finally moved here at the age of almost 65. She got 5 days in her paradise. My son had his back to it, but was only 20 m (60-65 feet) away when he heard the hit. He had crossed the road in the exact same place only a minute earlier. I am so glad he didn't see the actual hit, and I am so grateful it wasn't him. So many people were affected in a that split second, the woman who lost hers, the driver who hit her, all her family and friends, and those present. Take care of yourselves, your lives and your loved ones. You just don't know. Follow your hearts, follow your dreams. And do it now!

On a happier note; today is my boyfriends birthday. I woke him up with a cup of coffee and a chocolate covered, chocolate filled doughnut, and I cooked him an English breakfast for lunch. We're having pizza and film at home by his choice tonight. Wow, you think, the food of the day is not very healthy, and I say, as long as you enjoy every bite of it and don't eat it every day, it is great for you. Just love what you eat, and what you eat will work in your favour.

Lastly, I am so proud of my son. For a lot of reasons, but here's one:

Red Umbrella Beneath a Waterfall.

That's my music choice of the day, one of my favourite musicians. Check out his other stuff as well, it's pretty cool, and consider supporting him on Patreon.

He is also featured on a new album called Materia; Final Fantasy VII Remixed with his rendition of a track called

Feel The Edge of That Spear

and yeah, I can feel it. The edge of that spear.

The whole album is pretty cool so be sure to check it out.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Home Free at London A Cappella Festival, baby! I'll be there!

I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post! And I am sorry I lied when I promised I'd post a short story the other week. What can I say other than that I have been completely sucked up by Home Free coming to Europe. It is still very surreal to me and I expect it to continue to be like that for another lifetime. I honestly have a hard time thinking it will ever feel real, not before, not during and not after. It feels like, and will keep feeling like, it's a dream. But that won't stop me from enjoying the ride. Dreams are the fruits of life. Dreams coming true are the juice from the fruits of life. At least if you like juice. If not you have to come up with something that fits you.

So, I have to tell you about the day the tickets for Home Free's show at the London A Cappella Festival were released.

The background story is that the previous week, when they announced the show and release date for tickets, I knew I wouldn't have any money to get a ticket (I had spent it all on my awesome vacation when my nephew was here). I was still extremely happy because somehow I knew I wouldn't miss out. Only minutes after I mentioned it in one of the Fan groups another Fry offered to get a ticket for me. I was ecstatic! Wow! That is truly amazing, and I was so filled with gratitude and love for this person, and I accepted the offer.

So the day for ticket release arrives, they were due to go live sometime mid-day. Just before going to work in the morning I checked my Patreon page and found out that they had VIP tickets on sale. Of course, I still didn't have any money, but I was so happy for those that could get a VIP ticket, and there was always the hope there would be tickets left when I got paid. If not, the most important thing was that I would have a ticket thanks to my fellow Fry friend.

I was in a really good mood on my way to work, listening to Home Free and dancing on the streets and while waiting for the lift (elevator) at work our security guard caught me and applauded. (I think I made his day haha). I immediately logged into Facebook when I got to work, to check all the comments and be part of the excitement. I had PM's from 3 different Fries about checking Patreon for VIP tickets. I was so excited for them all for getting one, and I was stunned and moved to the core of my soul when one of them offered to get one for me, to pay back on pay day. Without thinking for even a second I accepted her offer and a couple of minutes later she told me I had a VIP ticket.

I can't even begin to describe my gratitude and love for these two people. These are people I have not met in real life yet. And they were there for me. The person getting me the VIP ticket said that she wasn't about to let someone that loves Home Free even more than she does miss out when she had the money to help. I was amazed and I was in disbelief, I still am, and as all this went down I was crying and laughing all at once in the office. My colleagues got worried until they realized it was tears of joy and love. I feel humbled by how much these people care.

The whole day I was crying on and off, and as I'm writing this I am crying too. My heart is pouring over and I feel like the luckiest person in the whole world.

So, what happened to the other ticket? Well, the fantastic Fry was gracious enough to still get it for me. That ticket I am giving away to someone. At this time I'm not sure who'll get it. I have asked someone,, if she can't make it I have someone else in mind. If she doesn't want it I have another idea, but I will keep you posted on what will happen to it.

And I am so happy because C, one of my best friends here in Spain, got a VIP ticket too! Yes!

Oh, and the VIP tickets were sold out even before the regular tickets went on sale! Way to make the Guys feel welcome to Europe, Fries!!

So what are my plans? Well, I already got my vacation days approved so I'll be going to London on the 27th or the 28th to do some touristing (it should be a real word) and meet up with some fellow Fries. They are coming from all over Europe. There will be Fries flying in from Estonia, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany as far as I know. At least some of us will be doing some sight seeing together the day before the show. This is just as exciting as seeing Home Free, sorry, MEETING Home Free!

I have hotel rooms booked close to the venue for the night of the show for four people; myself, C, the Fry that got me my VIP and the person that will get my second ticket. I'm Frying It Forward, spreading the love like rings on the water. The person that got me the front row ticket, cause yeah it's front row, will get something else.

I'm also hoping to be able to squeeze in a couple of more Home Free shows while there, we're still waiting for dates and places for additional shows, though. And maybe I'll catch more of the shows at the London A Cappella Festival; Naturally 7 is tempting, but time will tell.

There are so many things I want to do in London, and I am so excited I can barely keep myself together at times, but that will make a great post sometime in the future.

Today's video is, of course, Home Free's and FifGen's latest awesomeness;  the video for Alabama Sampler! Enjoy!

What do like doing in London, or what do you dream about doing in London?

Oh, and there are still a few tickets left so head on over to the London A Cappella Festival page and pick one or two up! You will not regret it!

118 days to go!


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Country Evolution = Music Revolution

It's finally here! Home Free's new album Country Evolution has been longed for for a very long time. Even though we constantly get new music through their videos we just can't get enough of it. And it's not because we get tired of the "old" music, it's just that we love being all swept away in the emotions of the first times we hear a new song by them.

I will try to put down into words what I think and feel about the album as a whole, as well as for the songs individually. Remember, these are all my personal thoughts and feelings. If you agree with me, or disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings too. Please comment on it to help readers that have not yet heard the album get an idea of what to expect. Music is personal, we all experience every song based on our own lives and backgrounds. What speaks to me in one way might speak to you in a completely different way, so let's all share with each other.

I will review the Deluxe Version as, in my opinion, there is no point in getting the Regular because you'll just end up wanting more anyway - just go straight for the best choice - or buy both. Some of the additional tracks you will be able to buy as singles, but not all of them. And trust me when I say that you will want all of them.

Sometimes when you have waited for something with such intensity and eagerness as I've been waiting for this album you can get disappointed. You build up a mountain of expectations that is hard to climb. This is not one of those times. This album fulfills my hopes and dreams about it - and then some. From the first note it makes me want to keep listening. It makes me smile, laugh and tear up. It makes me want to dance and it makes want to sit in silence and be grateful for everything I've got in my life. The last note leaves me wanting more of everything, and it makes me feel peaceful, all at once. This album climbed the mountain and kept going into space.

The album is a perfect mix of old classic and iconic country songs and new up-beat, modern sounding country songs. It's got guest appearances by country music legends and even by a violin (in one song only). There are worn-out songs (because they are so great that we've heard them close to too many times) given a fresh, new and exciting sound, and, maybe most importantly, it's got some Home Free originals that leaves us wanting even more originals. This album comes with so many emotions the experience of listening to it lifts you up and puts you on the moon, with a perfect view of both the sun and the earth.

The use of vocal skills on this album is somewhat hard to comprehend - and it makes it intriguing and elusive, like something I want to catch -and Home Free kicks it so far out of the park there is no bringing it back, this album is not only Country Evolution, it is music revolution. It is a new, fresh and interesting way of making music, of loving music. I can almost feel the world starting to rumble with excitement.

As always when it comes to Home Free's songs I can't single out one single favourite, but I will tell you that there are more than one track off this album that I believe will change how the world looks upon both a cappella music and country music. At least that's my dream for it, and my dreams tend to come true so I'll just keep it up until it is.

Now, on to the individual tracks on this album;

1. Summer In The Country - Home Free original written by Mark Nessler - this is a fun and up-beat country song that makes me want to hang out with my friends and family on that perfect summer's day; playing games, sitting around the fire,while singing, having a beer and feel the love in the air. It brings back childhood and youth memories and feelings of ease and joy in the sunshine at my grandparents summer house, or camping with either family or friends. Good times that are nice to remember. It is feeling of happiness.

2. Good Ol' Country Harmony - written by Home Free's own Tim Foust - a song about songs with good ol' country harmony - and of course this is a song full of exactly that. One might even say it is a song about all the other songs on this album, even though some of them are new and not old, because this whole album is filled to the brim with country harmony, and this song is almost spilling over with it. It makes me want to line dance and sing-along in joy.

3. 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton cover - this is a song I was very excited to hear what they would do with as it might be one of the most well-known songs in the western world, at least for people above the age of 30. In my opinion it is a hard task to make something new and exciting out of it; a lot of artists have tried and I have not heard one that succeeded - until now that is. Rob's soulful voice works so well with Adam's funky r&b beat, then add Austin's high notes, Tim's bass and Chris' perfectly blended harmonies and it would have been excellent. However, for these Guys it wasn't enough; they added a breakdown that takes the song to a whole different level of a cappella awesomeness. This song is part of the reason the album left the mountain aiming for the infinite space.

4. Elvira - Oak Ridge Boys cover featuring the Oak Ridge Boys - This is another song that is very hard to cover since ORB's version is so played that it is hard not to compare any new rendition to the original. However, in this version Home Free and Oak Ridge Boys do it together - and we end up with a high energy, joyful and fun rendition full of low notes, high notes, harmonies and vocal percussion that will literally rock your chair. The blend of old and new country harmonies is perfect. The mix of ORB and HF members singing leaves us wanting for more of them together, and there seems to be a chance that the future holds it. You can read a longer review of this song in this blog post here.

5. Don't It Feel Good - another Tim Foust original - the title song to their current tour. This song makes me think of musicals for some reason, maybe because musicals also makes me feel good. It is a harmonious, toe-tapping, finger snapping, happy song that makes me want to sing-along; Nanananananana Don't It Feel Good. Adam drops the beat at a perfect time, and Austin is just killing it in the lead. It hits just right, and it absolutely makes me feel good. If you've got a friend you know is feeling down - just send them this song.

6. Alabama Sampler - medley of Alabama songs -There's really not much to say about this track other than that all the original songs featured in it are great and Home Free do them all justice with their amazingly tight harmonies, and in my opinion, that is not an easy thing to accomplish. I get a lump in my throat and the tears are pressing behind my eyes when Austin sings "I believe there are Angels among us", because he can't really sing the word "Angels" without sounding like one. And let's face it - this group was born country even if it took them a while to realize it. The only problem I've got with this song is that I want the full length covers of the whole songs, but that's the case for all the medleys Home Free does, and I suppose it is a good thing to want that.

7. Seven Bridges Road - the Eagles cover - what can I say other than Heavenly Perfection! The harmonies in this song will give you goosebumps all over your body, the hair will stand up on your head, your ears will cheer with joy, your eyes will tear up - again - and your heart will overflow with love. The Eagles can feel deeply honoured by this rendition. Is it better than the original? In my opinion yes; but mostly because it is fresh and has a new sound. I still think the Eagles can hold their fort down, but Home Free has invited themselves in to it - peacefully - there's no fighting going on here. Well done! #standingovation

8. Friends In Low Places - a Garth Brooks cover - This is one of the most wanted songs for Home Free to cover and it's not hard to understand why. The Fries have requested it a lot, and Home Free doesn't disappoint. I love that Tim gets to sing lead on this song, because his 5 octave range is perfect for it. His middle range is full and have a way of pulling you in to the song; his low notes are - low and rumbling- and his high notes are - well, higher than anyone singing that low should be able to sing. I find it intriguing how he can go from low to high, and back, from one note to the other. His country twang adds an extra touch to the sarcastic tone that sneaks in at times, which is perfect for the story of this song. Together with Rob's perfect whistling, the tight harmonies, and Adam's "drumming" this is one of my favourites off this album. And that is saying a lot. This is the song I have found myself humming when I'm not listening to the album.

9. Honey, I'm Good - Andy Grammer cover - this song is fun, and it has some of the lowest notes you will ever hear in your entire life, it's in the bass line so you might think it's just the moon shaking underneath you. Rob's voice is perfect for this upbeat tempo song and with Austin's high "wo-wos" as an extra booster it is full of energy. This song has been available for a long time, both as an mp3 and a video, and it makes a perfect addition to this album's uplifting feel. This song always makes me dance without fail, and it doesn't matter whether I am waiting for the bus or sitting down at work. It makes me want to move my butt.

10. Fishin' In The Dark/Down In The Boondocks - a mashup covering The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Little Big Town songs - To me this is the most surprising track on the album. Not the song choices in themselves, because they are perfect for Home Free, but the arrangement of them. If I had not known this was a mash-up by two different songs I would never have guessed it. This song is exciting and electric, and it brings the album to yet another level, a level I for one wasn't expecting at all. All of the Guys' voices are used to perfection in both the individual parts and the harmonizing, and Adam's heavy beats together with Tim's deep bass line brings it home. This is one of the songs that will have the world gasp out of surprise that there are no instruments used. It is so full of sounds that sound like instruments it is really hard to grasp it's all vocals. Even for me that is not new to Home Free's talent.

11. The Devil Went Down To Georgia - Charlie Daniels cover - featuring Charlie Daniels and Taylor Davis. There's an actual instrument on this song; a violin played by the amazing Taylor Davis and by Charlie Daniels himself. This song is a story, and if a story has ever been told in a country song this is the one best told, and this rendition is the best teller of it. It is the story about the Devil being challenged to a fiddler duel by a young boy named Johnny. Tim and his deep voice is the story teller, Charlie Daniels himself is the Devil, and Austin is the boy. Adam with his devilish beats, and Rob and Chris with their tight harmonies are the icing on this delicious cake. Charlie Daniels plays the violin for the Devil, and Taylor Davis plays the rest. Listen to the story, listen to the duel. Listen to it all. You will not be disappointed!

12: House Party - Sam Hunt cover - this track was a late addition to the album as this is a brand new song. Home Free heard it, liked it and decided they wanted it to be on this album. This song is a whole lot of fun and it makes you want to dance and party, for sure. As in every other Home Free song there are tight harmonies, great beat boxing, a wicked bass line and a sound that sound nothing like the a cappella most people think of when they hear the word. Just get up and dance, clap your hands, cheer and have a house party!

13. California Country - written by Home Free's Austin Brown - this is the first ever Austin original that Home Free does; and just as Austin himself it is a soulful song with a feeling of peace and love and the full harmonies add to that feeling. The arrangement is perfect and this song makes me want to sit down after all the dancing and cheering I have done to the other songs. While sitting there I will stomp my foot and clap one hand on my leg to the nice, mellow beat while having a big smile on my face. Well done, Austin, this song makes me want more of your songs.

14. Serenity - Tim Foust original - the last track on this album is perfect in so many ways. It is sweet, it is soft, it's filled with harmonies and it is beautiful enough to bring tears to your eyes - yet again. This song is almost like a prayer, and it is only a minute long. Tim has said that it was all he had to say at the moment - which to me makes it even more perfect. This song brings Country Evolution home. If California Country took us down from the energetic high grounds we've been up on during all the other songs Serenity will bring you the feeling of peace you need before going to bed. And it makes you want more of it. It makes you want more of Home Free. It makes me already longing for their next album, and the last note is still vibrating the air around me.

So, time to finish this review up. I love this album, it has the potential to become one of those epic albums people still talk about and listen to years and years and years from now. I might be a bit bias as I am already completely in awe and in love with this amazing group of Guys, but, putting that aside (as much as I can); music wise, talent wise, what they have done with this album; it is pure genius. And I will say it again, and I will say it proudly and stand by it;

Country Evolution is Music Revolution!

As I  have been listening through all the songs trying to find the words for this review I have gone through so many different emotions, and I can't wait to make new memories to these new songs and new renditions of old favourites. If you haven't already ordered this album you need to do so as soon as you can. There are three places to order it online; the Home Free website, iTunes and Amazon (there are links to Amazon on top right of this page). Make sure to get the Deluxe version for all the tracks. If you're outside of the States you have to go to your area's iTunes or Amazon. If you don't want to buy the "pig in the sack" without hearing it first you can listen to the whole album on Spotify, but please, if you like it and can afford it you should buy it. Artists hardly get anything from Spotify and we want to support these Guys. After you bought it you can go back to Spotify to listen to it if you want to.

I will leave you with the latest Home Free video - their amazing and breathtakingly beautiful rendition of the Eagles' Seven Bridges Road. Enjoy!


Friday, 18 September 2015

Music, Tickets, Writing and Football

I'm not really sure how I am going to live through my day at work tomorrow. There are just too many things going on outside of the office, luckily there are also things going on at the office so I might be distracted. And, yeah, there's plenty of work to do there too.

So what's going on then?

Tomorrow is the day for the release of Country Evolution, the most longed for album in the history of music. At least in my world it is! Finally!! I can't wait to hear all the amazing songs for the first time. There are Tim originals and the first ever Home Free Austin original, and the amazing rendition of 7 Bridges Road, and, and, and ... Breathe, Carina, breathe. And then run home from work to listen to it! Run, Carina, run!

Tomorrow is also the day for the release of the tickets for Home Free's European debut show in January! I have a fellow Fry taking care of that for me, and I can't thank him enough for it! I just love how Home Fries are there to help and support each other when needed, in so many different ways. I have never, ever, heard of any other fan group that has this type of community and love for their fellow fans as well as for the band. It truly is an amazing thing to experience. I am grateful from the deepest part of my heart and soul! Thank you, dear Fry Friend! I will certainly Fry it Forward!

On a different note; I have been writing y'all! Both here and there, this and that, fiction and non-fiction, love and murder, good and bad. You name it. I have written it. Well, almost anyway. You can expect a short story within the next week. That is a promise! Yaaaay! Who thinks it's been too long? I do!

Saturday will be a very fun day in my outside-of-Home-Free-world (yes, I do have one of those too). It is the day for the 2nd annual international football tournament of the company I work for. (Football is the sport where people kick a round ball using their feet, i.e. foot, not the sport where people throw an oval thing with their hands and only occasionally kick it. Sorry Americans, but you've got it wrong in so many ways there.). 4 countries - 4 teams, meet for an all day event of football, music, drinks, and fun (hopefully in the sunlight) to decide which country has the best football team in the world (that would be the my-company-world-of-currently-four-countries world). My team, Spain, is the reigning champions and we, the team and supporters, plan on keeping the trophy here. It will be tough, though. The other teams want revenge, but we got home field and home crowd advantage.

The most fun part of it all will be to meet some of my colleagues face to face for the first time, especially the people I talk to several times a week, sometimes a day. Some of them I've met before and it will be a lot of fun seeing them again.

I will keep you posted on how we kept the trophy with us!

By the way, there is an autographed copy of Country Evolution on it's way to my mailbox. Yup.

I hope you all enjoy the next few days, or weeks, because I am not sure how much any of you will be able to get up for some air in between listening to this fabulous album. I'll try to find some time to say hello, besides posting a short story.

And I know, I posted this video the other week, but, it's Home Free, and it's great, and it's on the new album, so you just have to dig it. Just dig it. Like, just like it, love it. Love it! Yes, just love it!


Saturday, 12 September 2015

4 Months And 19 Days

Until my long wait is finally over!

4 months and 19 days will make January 30, 2016.

4 months and 19 days - that's when I finally get to see Home Free live!

YES!! It's true!! They are coming to London! They are finally, finally, finally coming here! To Europe! To me! I get to see them live! In 4 months and 19 days!

Ok, I'll try to calm down. A bit, for a few minutes at least.

The European Home Fry community is buzzing and cheering of joy (actually the whole Home Fry community is cheering for us Euro Fries because that's what Fries do, I think they are almost as happy for us that we are that Home Free is crossing the pond.) and we are already pre-planning which airport to fly into, where to stay, how long we are going to be in London for and so on. Because, you see, this is about so much more than just seeing our favourite band live for the first time. This is about meeting friends for the first time too. And it is all very exciting. The only other thing I could wish for is that my US/Canadian Fries could be there as well. I so want to meet them too! But, everything in due time is what I always say. The day for that will come. This time it's all about Europe, the European Fries and, oh yes, Home Free coming to us.

We have been waiting for this day for a long time now, it's been months since the first, short and very brief, mention that they were going to come to the UK in January and we've been waiting and waiting and waiting for some more information about it.

Today is the first of the days we have been waiting for; the day when we found out when and where. Tickets will go on sale on Friday and I just hope that all of us deep fried Euro Fries will get one. I know this will be one of the most amazing days and nights of our lives.

And to me, this will be my first time going to London and I am so excited about that too. I've always wanted to go there, so I'm hoping to be able to make the trip a few days longer to do some proper sightseeing.

I'm still in a haze, not quite understanding that I am actually going to see them - for real. Oh my.

Anyway, I'm going to say bye for now, it's 1 am and wow, I'm seeing Home Free live soon.

In 4 months and 19 days. That's the second day we've been waiting for. Maybe I'll see you in London. On January 30, 2016. Who else will be there? I am sure it will be a fantastic Fry Party!


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Country Party In The House

The day for the release of Home Free's new album Country Evolution is getting closer and closer and is now only 10 days away. I for one is eagerly waiting and counting down to it.

The album will come in a few different versions; first choice you have to make is if you want a physical CD or mp3 tracks. There will also be the option of the Standard or the Deluxe Edition. The Standard version has 11 tracks and the Deluxe Edition has 14.
So many choices! What to do, what to do? Which one should I get?

Well, to me the option was easy when it comes to choosing between Standard or the Deluxe. Always go with the Deluxe Edition if you have a choice, you will regret it if you don't.

When it comes to choosing between a physical CD or the digital version I always go with the digital version as I don't even own a CD player, not even my laptop has one. However, this album comes with the option of pre-ordering the physical CD directly from the Home Free Store on their website and you will get it autographed. Easy decision!! Always go with the signed stuff! And since I won't be playing it I pre-ordered the digital version as well. I myself prefer Amazon since I am not a fan of iTunes, but it is also available there for those who prefer it.

The Deluxe Edition has, as I mentioned, 14 tracks, and so far 5 of them has been released for purchase or gratification downloads if you have pre-ordered the digital album. And every track is better than the one before, or maybe they are all equally good. I don't really care which one is better because they are all freakishly amazing in their own different ways. They are also all very different from one another even though they are all country and they are all a cappella, the sound differs widely, in my opinion. This makes me wait even more eagerly for the whole album to drop on the 18th. Is it the 18th yet?

The track list for this album is amazing. There is a mix of old classics and completely new stuff. There are songs featuring the original artists, and there are mash-ups. There are new songs written by others and some written by the Home Free Guys themselves. Nothing is wrong with this album. (Yes, I know I haven't heard it all yet, but I am so sure of it I will go public with it even before hand) One of the songs is also featuring the incredible violinist Taylor Davis so I assume there will even be an actual instrument in that song. And I bet it is all very tastefully done, having Silent Night from the Full of Cheer (Christmas album) in mind, where she was also featured.

I love it how these guys take care of their friends in the same way they are being taken care of by others. It is all about the love.

Here's the track list for 
Country Evolution Deluxe Edition;

1: Summer In The Country (Original) - released
2; Good Ol' Country Harmony (Original)
3: 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton Cover)
4: Elvira (feat. The Oak Ridge Boys) (The Oak Ridge cover) - released
5: Don't It Feel Good (Original)
6: Alabama Sampler (Alabama Cover) - deluxe only
7: Seven Bridges Road (The Eagles Cover) - deluxe only
8: Friends In Low Places (Garth Brooks Cover)
9: Honey, I'm Good (Andy Grammer Cover) - released
10: Fishin' In the Dark/Down In The Boondocks (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Little Big Town Covers) - released
11: Devil Went Donn to Georgia (feat. Charlie Daniels & Taylor Davis) (Charlie Daniels Cover)
12: House Party (Sam Hunt Cover) - released
13: California Country (Original)
14: Serenity (Original) - deluxe only

If you click the song titles of the released songs in the list above you will come straight to the video for that particular song.

I've heard some of the songs not yet released as I've been watching video clips from Home Fries that have been to live shows. I have decided I don't want to hear any more of them before I get the album, though. I want to be completely wowed when I listen to all the songs I haven't heard already. All of them, in one sitting. It will completely blow my mind and heart away, I am sure of it!

The songs I have heard that are not yet officially released are 9 to 5 - and wow! If the beatboxing is anything like the live version then embrace yourselves! The other one I've heard is Seven Bridges Road and holy harmonies it's stunningly beautiful!

Seriously, this album will rock my world! Actually, I think this album will rock the whole world into loving country a cappella. I think this album will revolutionize not only country music, but the love for music in general for a lot of people out there. Country Evolution indeed! The world will be stunned!

The latest single off this album before the release is song number 12; House Party by Sam Hunt. It is an upbeat and fun country song, and Home Free sure has a lot of fun doing it. I would love to have been at the party they are having in the video! I just love Austin and his beautiful girlfriend Olena in this video. They are just the cutest. And DJ Batman Adam is so much fun. By the way, don't let yourself be fooled, there are no actual guitars or any other instruments for that matter in this song either. I know, it's really hard to believe, I can swear I hear some. But, no.

If you want to pre-order the autographed physical Deluxe CD click here, and if you want to pre-order the digital Deluxe album, or the normal physical CD just click on the amazon add for it on the top right of this page. Or you can go to the guys website to go to iTunes.

Are you feeling the excitement yet?

I promise you, when you play this album there will be a House Party, country a cappella style! Are you ready for it?


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Vacation Update

I'm just checking in to let you know, very briefly, what I am up to at the moment; I am so busy having time off from work that I don't have time to write. I've got my oldest nephew here and we are having lots of fun. We've been hanging on the beach and going out for dinners; we've barbecued and we've been on a ferry trip to the next town - with the spectacular view of the coastline with the Sea in the front, the beaches and all the buildings in the middle and the mountains and the blue sky in the background - simply beautiful! We've also been to the ancient mountain city of Ronda with a completely different set of spectacular views depending on whether you are looking down the deep ravine from the town or if you are down on the bottom looking up. We did both - unbelievably gorgeous. We have also played some adventure miniature golf - that's always good fun, even more so since I won on 6 under par. Yaaay!

Tomorrow we are going to the small town of Tarifa - the southernmost point of the European continent, and it's also a very, very old town. To get an idea what it looks like there check out this video;

The water you see is the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar - where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. Did you know that the water of the two don't actually mix together, you can (at least sometimes) see the actual line between them, The land you see across the Strait is the north coast of Morocco, Africa. It's only 14 km away. 

We are still waiting for confirmation whether we get to go on a dolphin safari tomorrow, it all depends on the winds, so keep your fingers crossed! I love dolphin safaris, the dolphins are such amazing creatures. So beautiful - especially in their natural environment. I went on two different trips last year and I can't wait to do it again. 

On Saturday we'll leave Tarifa to go back home but first we will make a stop in Gibraltar, which is British territory. From the Rock of Gibraltar you can see 2 continents (Europe and Africa), 3 countries (Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco), the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and of course the Strait of Gibraltar. It is quite amazing. Gibraltar is actually the last known holdout of the Neanderthals with evidence of habitation dating all the way back to 28,000-24,000 BC. And it's got cool caves, Europe's only wild apes (although they are so used to humans that they could hardly be called wild) and a Moorish castle that's like 600 years or so old. Way cool!

Anyway, I need to get my beauty sleep, I've got a 2-2,5 hours bus ride tomorrow. I don't mind because I will be listening to Home Free - so I will be great! Still, my eyes are crossing now.

Speaking of Home Free - did you see their newest video and single yet? You can get the mp3 of it by pre-ordering their new album Country Evolution from either iTunes or Amazon. This song is so cool and so much fun! Check it out! There's a separate post coming about this one next week.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Night At The Opry

"The night is warm and humid. It is late. Almost 3.30 am. Most people around here have been asleep for hours already. Not me, though. I'm waiting for something big. It is the night between the 17th and 18th of July 2015, my time, it is a night a lot of people have been waiting for for a long time.

I am sitting in bed, alone, the cats are around here somewhere, but even they are sleeping. The atmosphere is peaceful and quiet, but I can feel the excitement in it. It's coming from me, of course. I am far, far away from where the big thing is only minutes away from happening. It's all going down in Nashville, Tennessee, USA and I'm on the southern coast of Spain.

I've got my good headphones on, the ones with a really good bass in them, some coffee to drink and my mobile phone. And, of course, the most important thing, the app for the Grand Ole Opry's live radio broadcast. I have heard artist after artist playing and singing their country songs, but I don't even remember who. I'm only interested in one special band. My favourite music band of all times, the country a cappella band Home Free, are having their debut at the legendary Opry - the show that made country music famous.

I don't know when I first heard about the Opry, it seems like I've know about it all my life and maybe I have. My parents listened to country music when I was growing up and I have always favourited it without being aware of it. It's about the harmonies and the melodies, and the stories. And the Grand Ole Opry is to country music artists what Wimbledon is to tennis player. To get to play there is a huge dream, a goal, something to aim for. And probably something surreal when you are actually there.

Anyway, this is the first I actually tune in to the show live. I like it, even though I don't remember what I'm hearing tonight. It's country and I love country.

So, here I am, in high anticipation, waiting for Home Free to come on. This is big for them. This is big for the Opry and it is big for the world. This is big for the Home Fries. This is an historical night in the world of music. The rest of the world don't know it yet, but they will.

Another artist finishes his song and the presenter starts reading an advertisement and a huge roar is heard. And I know. Home Free just entered the stage. The presenter stops mid-reading the ad to say that he's never heard that big a response to an ad before. Yeah, right, I think, nice try. The Fries know. The Fries can feel it. The energy. Home Free is in the house.

I can hear how nervous they are when they start singing, those first few lines, are tense, but they do great. I have tears in my eyes of joy and chills down my spine from the greatness of the moment. This is wow oh so big. They finish their first song Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flats, and there is another roar from the crowd. I am wondering how many of the people in the audience are new to Home Free. I wounder what they think. I wish I could see it, not only hear it!

Now, Ring Of Fire, oh Ring Of Fire, the song that made me fall in love with them, the song that changed my life. I smile a smile so big it hurts, my cheeks are still wet with happy tears running down and I'm dancing right here on the bed. When Tim does his low notes I can feel the audience take a deep breath of surprise. Oh, how I would have loved to be there in person. But this is ok too. I am so excited to be a part of this, of their great moment in life. Because I am. I do get to share this! And I am proud as a mum! Maybe it's got to do with being a Patron. Or maybe it's just the feeling of love being all around them at all times. 

Another roar from the crowd is heard when they finish the song. It is over. I am raising my hands to the ceiling in victory (I seem to do that a lot, and cry happy tears, when it comes to Home Free) and say Yes! They did so well! What a great job they did! Yes! Yes! 

The presenter thanks them and tells them how great they were. Yes, they were. They sure were."

It took me hours to get down from the high that night. What a great debut it was!

Home Free were invited back on the spot, the Grand Ole Opry was that impressed by them. How could they not be. Remember all those roars I heard from the audience? They weren't just roars, they were standing Ovations. 3. Yes, that's right! Home Free got 3! standing O's on their debut at the friggin' Grand Ole Opry! And they only did 2 songs! Lot's of Fries in the house, and the Opry was blown away. Great job, Fries! Fantabulous job, Home Free!

I heard a story about the Opry tour guide being in the back of the building when Tim hit his low note, and he felt the rumble from it. How cool is that?!

This all happened because of Duane Allen and The Oak Ridge Boys, who have truly taken Home Free under their wings. They brought Tim with them to one of their performances at the Opry and introduced them to each other. Way to go, Duane and ORB!! The Fries are you forever indebted for so much! We can't wait to see what the future will hold for the nine of you together!

The reason why I have waited this long to share this experience with you is because I wanted to be able to share an official video of it, and the Opry finally uploaded Life Is A Highway to their YouTube channel yesterday.

You can see the tension on the guys, especially on Austin. I've never seen his face to tight before. But you can also see and feel the joy and disbelief in their eyes, and their relief when the song is over. And you can see the second standing O. I hope we get to see Ring Of Fire one day too. I can't wait for them to go back there, and my bucket has a new addition. Not only do I want to go to the Opry, and not only do I want to see Home Free live, but I also want to see Home Free live at the Opry.

One day that dream will come true!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

My Heart's On Fire For #HFORB

Take 4 parts of legendary, old school country singers with sweet harmonies, add their greatest hit song and 5 parts of (will-be legendary) new school a cappella country singers with (at least) equally sweet harmonies, a killer arrangement and then mix it all together. Add to the quotation that one of those nine people is one of the best vocal percussionists/beat boxers the world have ever heard, 2 of them are among the worlds best bass singers and they can hit low notes as easy as I breath; and then sit back and wait to see what happens. Would you care to take a guess? I know that even if you do you wouldn't come anywhere near the truth of what happens. But don't sweat it! Have no fear! The truth is now out! The answer is here!

It all started months ago when Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys saw Home Free on a TV show and was blown away. He reached out and the ball started rolling. Home Fries all over the world started speculating, hoping and dreaming for a collaboration between the two groups. We begged and pleaded for them to work together on ORB's hit song Elvira from 1981. In the beginning of the summer the ORB tweeted that they were about to enter the studio together to do exactly what we wanted.

That's when the real speculating started. We knew it would be nothing short of amazing. How could it not be? What we didn't know was HOW amazing it could, and would, be. We had no idea this result was even a possibility. We had no idea of the heights it would take us to. Even in our wildest imaginations and dreams, we had no clue what so ever.

And then there was a video shoot. Home Free loves keeping their fans up to date on what they do, and we love that they do, and they also love teasing us with snippets of what is to come, and we love it when they do. So we knew they were shooting the video, and we were told the song was awesome, but nothing, absolutely nothing, was told on when this, what must be pure awesomeness, was going to be revealed to us. We just had to wait and see. So we did. Patiently. Ok, I lie, very impatiently. We waited.

And after all this hoping, dreaming, speculating, teasing and waiting the day finally arrived. FINALLY!! It is here!

For the Home Free Patrons it arrived on Thursday, and boy oh boy do I love being a Patron (You can become one here) ! I am so proud to be a part of all this. It is so satisfying to know that I helped (as Austin might say). The rest of the world was first introduced to this epicness (I'm so making that a word) by Huffington Post. YES, a huge release in Home Free's career was shown to the world by a huge player on the online news market. Epic! Huge! And so right! Didn't I tell you a few weeks back that Home Free is having an epic summer?

So, what about the song and the singing and all that stuff? Well, it's ok.

Naaaaaaah, just kidding!

It is absolutely freggin' mind blowingly fantastic! It is putting my heart on fire! It is pure joy and love! It is far beyond my wildest dreams of what could be done with this song that I already loved. It is sweet, it is power! It is taking me to higher grounds, it is flying me to the moon, and it is one of the best things I have ever, ever, heard, ever. It makes me smile, laugh and dance. It makes put my hands to the sky in victory! I was sitting at my desk at work yesterday, listening to Home Free while doing some work, and I could see that my colleague next to me was looking at me with a big smile. Apparently I was dancing in my chair. I had already told her about the song so she just looked at me and asked if that was the song. Yes, yes it was. And so the day went on. Every time Elvira came on I noticed her watching me through the corner of my eye. Well, could for me for making her smile. Oh, did I tell you I was wearing ear buds so she couldn't hear what song was actually on.

We knew it was going to be epic, but this, this is so much more than just being epic.

The sweet, sweet harmonies are perfectly blended; the basses are, well, low and perfect together;, and the beat boxing is rocking everybody's world, knocking us kind out of our chairs and on to the dance floor. Seriously, Adam, how is it even possible to do what you do?

The fantastic arrangement is made by Tim Foust by him tweaking an arrangement made by Geoff Castellucci and VoicePlay (another brilliant a cappella group), and it let's the personalities of the two groups shine through. Not just the groups, the different personalities of all the members of the two groups. WoW! This is such a perfect arrangement! It shows a completely new, young and fresh take on this classic song without taking away from the original greatness of it. This is truly the perfect mix of old school and new school.

As for the video; it's just 9 guys sitting around, having fun singing this fantastic song. Nothing special one would think, but I love it, and you can tell by watching the video that all the boys love it. Both generations. It shows in their faces and their body languages. They are amazed by each other; Home Free probably by the honour of getting to do this at all, and ORB by the amazing talents of HF. The joy, the fun, the mutual respect. It is all showing in this great video put together by FifGen Films. Great job, as always, by them! My favourite part is when ORB is signing Austin's ORB t-shirt and Austin is looking like he just can't believe this is happening. Isn't that kind of what we are all feeling right about now? And here's more;

According to Duane Allen the ball is still rolling behind the scene's to get the 2 groups together for some TV and other fun stuff, but they are all very busy until after Christmas so we'll just have to wait and see. I have a feeling that from now on Home Free will be experiencing an avalanche of great things leading to even greater things. Mr Allen even mentioned the possibility of them all going on a WORLD TOUR - TOGETHER! Where can I get the tickets for that?

Can it get any better than this? Well, guess what, it can!!

After you watched this joyful and epic video (a hundred times or so) head over to Home Free's store and pre-order the Deluxe version of their new album Country Evolution (to be released on September 18) and you will get an autographed copy. You can also head over to iTunes to put the pre-order in for the digital Deluxe album which will allow you to download 3 tracks immediately, including Elvira. How amazing is that!! Third option is to pre-order it from Amazon, just click the link on the top right of this page, this will give the "original" version of the album with 11 songs, the Deluxe version has 14 (the additional 3 tracks are not the same 3 you get when you buy the digital version on iTunes). This album is going to be epic. This album is going to change the way the world looks at a cappella and country music. But that deserves a separate post.

And do me and the guys a favour will ya'; share this post, share every article you see, share the video; on Facebook and on Twitter, on whatever social media you are on; with people you know and people you don't know. And if you share it on Twitter please use #HFORB and #ELVIRA as we want to get it trending. If you want to share it on Facebook, please use the Facebook video found on Home Free's page. It's all for viral reasons. Let's get Elvira


And now, finally, here it is;


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Spreading Health And Love

Yesterday the Norwegian side of the company I work for started kind of a campaign together with an organisation that raise money for cancer research and for helping cancer patients to a better life while they are sick. Since the Norwegian Customer Service is set in the same building as we (the Swedish Customer Service) is and we do most company related events together it was decided that we get to join them.

The way it works is that we, the co-workers, exercise and we log the activity that gets turned into points (based on the activity, the length you do it and the intensity you do it with), and the points then turn into money. The money we raise our company will donate to the organisation.

We are also divided into teams, department wise, that are competing against each other. The campaign will be going for a year. How cool is that??

I think this is a brilliant idea! It will inspire us to move and exercise more, as well as do good for people that are sick and maybe, in the long run, help prevent people from getting sick, also the company will have healthier and happier people working for them. It's a win-win-win-win-win!

I have been trying to find the inspiration to exercise more. I like exercising, but I also like being lazy and I always have a problem finding the right balance for me. I don't like it when exercising takes over my life, but if I don't exercise enough I will get bored and stop doing it. This will certainly help me. It will especially help me on those times and days when I don't really want to walk home from work (it's a 45 min walk); I will think about the good it will do for others, when the thought of what good it will do for me is not enough, and the chance of me actually walking home will be higher. In the weekends it will help get my bum up on the roof to do some rowing, at least when it's cooled down a bit. Yes, I still have the rowing machine I bought back in February and I still love it. It's just very hot up on the roof terrace this time of year so the only time of day or night I can use it without dying of heat stroke is at like 4 am, and I am asleep then. Most of the nights anyway. And even if I am awake I will not exercise. That is crazy.

This week I am walking to work early in the mornings ( I start at 7am this week so  I leave home at 6am), and today I walked home too. Next week I work late so I finish at 10pm and will be walking home, And, of course, I am listening to Home Free when I'm walking.

Are you doing anything to help less fortunate people (it can be a smile at someone homeless or lonely, or donations or anything in between) or to help yourself keep healthy and happy?

I try to remember to smile to someone I don't know every day, I try telling at least one person a day something nice about them and I say I love you to my boyfriend and son at least once a day. Every month I donate some money to different organisations, and I say thank you to the bus drivers or the person behind the till in the stores. All this doesn't only make them feel better, it makes me feel better, and it helps me have a smile on my face most of my day, every day. But the most important thing I do is to do what I can to find the silver lining in any situation. I tend to sometimes forget myself, especially at work, and when I do it will always make me feel worse which kind of works as a reminder to smile and be positive again.

I've been having this song in my head all day today so naturally I have to share it. And, well, it makes me smile so hopefully it will make you smile too. Actually, I find myself using it when I need to get back to being positive when I've lost my way. Do you have a way of getting back on track?

Smile at someone you don't know today! It's healthy!


Sunday, 16 August 2015

One Year With Home Free!

Happy Anniversary to me! One year ago today my life changed. A Facebook friend of mine posted a video on her time line that showed up on my news feed. At first I ignored it, even though it caught my attention, but the third time it showed up a friend of my Facebook friend had commented on it saying that it looked like one of the guys from Home Free, the guys that had won the Sing Off the year before. To this day I still have no idea why that comment had me look closer at the video, But it did.

And I was hooked. As so many of us have done I spent the next few days and nights, watching everything I could find with this amazing bunch of Guys. I hardly slept, but I still had so much energy. I felt like I had found my one true love, and in a way that was exactly what I had done. I'm sorry, did I say "the next few days and nights"? I meant months. Heck, I'm still doing it; just not every day and night. 

A few days later I joined Patreon to get access to this gem (below), and a few days after that I joined one of the fan groups on Facebook. And I haven't looked back.

So what has this past year brought me, how did finding Home Free change my life? 

First of all; I have made a whole lot of new friends, and even though I still haven't met any of them in real life I know that I will when I get the chance to attend a show, or even just go for a visit anywhere near where any of them are located. I could probably sofa hop around the world staying with other Fries. How cool would that be?! 

Home Free fans are not like any other fan. They are loving and supporting, and they help each other out with whatever needs being helped with. They will give away a ticket to a show, or pick you up at the airport, or even do your grocery shopping if you can't do it yourself and they are in the area. They will send you gifts, and they will pay it forward (or Fry it forward as we like to call it). There are support groups for Fries that struggle with weight or that need emotional support, or prayers, during hard times. And they will support and encourage your creativity. I have seen so many Fries pick up their long lost passions of writing, drawing, singing, you name it! And they are all being cheered on by other Fries! Isn't all this what a friend should be all about?! At least it is to me! This is the feeling that the Guys of Home Free spread around them; the feeling of great friendships!

It also brought back my love for music. Before I would listen to music on occasion, but now not a day goes by when I don't listen to some type of music, and I listen to Home Free every day. I love music that makes me feel love and happiness, music that makes me smile and want to sing and dance. That is one of the reasons I love Home Free. Their music makes me feel all that and more. 

Thirdly it made me start writing again. I am one of those Fries that picked up my passion. Mine wasn't a long lost one, it was still present, but I was in a state of giving it up. And then Home Free came in to my life, and watching them, reading about the hard times and the struggles they went through to get to where they are today, following them, seeing and hearing how they grow and evolve, knowing that they never gave up no matter how tough the times were. THAT keeps me going when I lose my ground. And with all these happy feelings inside from listening to their music inspiration is growing and flowing more and more by the day. The belief in myself is increasing. And I know that everything will be OK. 

Finding Home Free did change my life, I am a happier person today than I was one year ago.

Thank you, Home Free!

If you have watched all these videos right now I bet you have a big goofy smile on your face. If not, go back and watch them again!