Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Collection of Guys

Over the last few months I've written blog posts about the guys in Home Free. I thought I'd put links to those posts in one single post, for easy access. So here they are, just follow each link to read them;

Adam Rupp - The Pulse And The Beat

Tim Foust - The Rumbling Bass

Chris Rupp - The Thinking Glue

Rob Lundquist - The Beard, The Whistle, The Voice

Austin Brown - The Soulful Heartbeat

When I first started this series I put a two-video limit to the posts, only because I didn't want to make them too long, but as time went by I started to feel that it wasn't enough. When I wrote the post about Chris I couldn't hold it back anymore, I had to add more than two videos to feature him. So now I feel that the posts about Adam and Tim are not complete and good enough. This is not an all bad thing, though, because it will give me the reason, if ever I need one, to write new posts about them all some time in the future. I honestly can't wait for some time to pass by so I can get to it. 

Which of the posts is your favourite? What did you miss in them? 

Today's video will be a Scotty McReery cover; Feelin' It. It fits because, well, it's summer here and I am feeling it. That is all. 


Saturday, 27 June 2015

Fiction; The Loving Eyes

As soon as the wind started to settle I could hear the screams again. I preferred the noise of the wind, to be honest. I really need to sound proof this place, or at least parts of it. How on earth am I ever going to be able to sleep with all that shouting going on? One would think living in the middle of nowhere would be a quiet and nice experience, a place where you could collect your thoughts and get to an inner balance, but, no, not at my house, anyway. Those people just won’t shut up. It just goes on and on and on. Day or night doesn’t matter, after a time of calm and quiet the screaming starts again, and it had gotten worse over the years.

It’s a good thing I bought a nice set of headphones to go with my mp3 player. Listening to my favourite music helps to drown it all out. Maybe I should just go tell them to shut up? Although, they already have an aversion against me right now and I don’t really want to add to it at this point of time. Maybe I should give them something nice as a peace offering instead, maybe that will quiet them down a bit?

I need to go shopping first though, might be a nice change of scenery for a few hours. Get the screaming out of my head. The only good thing about them all screaming is that I can scream all I want to as well. Get my frustration and anger out of my system, temporarily at least. Yes, I’ll go shopping for them, it’s about time anyway. It’s been way too long.

I didn’t knock on the door. Nobody would have, or could have, stopped me from entering the room anyway. The screaming stopped as I entered and four eyes turned to look at me and my company. Her eyes widened as I shoved her into the big cage with the other two. She was all naked with her hands tied behind her back and her mouth was gagged. Her eyes were perfect in every single way, and the fear in them was exhilarating. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. They made me happy I went shopping.

-  I brought you a toy, I said. Play with her, make me happy.

The woman’s eyes got even bigger and she tried to scream and move away from the other two. They, however, knew that good things had come their way. They looked at each other, then at me, and finally at the woman. I could see their eager and hunger. This one wouldn't last long. Good, that made my wait shorter too. 

Yes, I was very happy with my shopping today; she would make a nice addition to my collection. It had become more difficult to find unique people as time had gone by. Twenty years will do that to any collector.

I left the three prisoners, or the six eyes; it was the eyes that were of importance to me, in the cage and went back upstairs.The first two I didn’t care about, they had ordinary eyes, but this new one had green eyes with little blue dots in them. They were the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen, and nothing like I had ever seen before. I couldn't wait to see them again.

It was quiet now, for a while at least. The new girl was gagged and the other two were happy with their new toy for a while. I knew they would be, they were serial killers and she was their prey. See, I don’t kill anybody; I just collect the eyes from the dead. And, well, I do bring them the people they need to kill for my collection. We’ve had this collaboration long for a long time now. Not that they had much choice.

Once upon a time, twenty some years ago, I had caught them killing my girlfriend, and somehow I had managed to capture them. I had had no idea what to do with them, but I couldn’t hand them over to the police. I wanted to keep my girlfriends eyes, and therefore I needed to get rid of her body without getting the police involved.  Living alone deep in a forest has a lot of advantages so I had buried her, and planted a tree on top of her grave. Her name was Marlene.

At first I had just kept them, Marlene's killers, and I had built them a big cage. It had been expensive though, because I needed to feed them, but what choice did I have. I couldn’t let them go, I couldn’t call the police and I couldn’t kill them. I don’t kill. And then one day about 7 months later I had seen the most intriguing set of eyes. I had no choice. I had to get them. I wanted them so badly. And that’s when I got the idea. I already had the perfect set up, all I had to do was to make sure nobody would suspect me of snatching the girl, and let the prisoners kill her so I could collect those perfect eyes.

At the same time I realized that I didn’t need to spend any more money on food ever again, not for those two anyway. One girl would last them a very long time. It was all up to them. I didn’t care what they did as long as I got the eyes, those gorgeous eyes.

I smiled. I loved my collection, 57 soon to be 58, pair of eyes. My first pair was my favourite, Marlene's eyes, those eyes I had loved. I had loved the body that had held them too.

Yes, I love those loving eyes.



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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

My Dream And My Heart Will Go On

I've mentioned my dad's old drawer a few times in previous posts; that it is my dream to sit by it and write my book. That it has always been my dream, and that it is standing in a storage room in Sweden awaiting a shipment to Spain. Yeah, well, I still don't have the funds or the way to bring it to me, but at least now I have some photos to look at and dream away to. I thought I'd share those photos with you today. 

The story behind this drawer is that it belonged to my dad (I have no idea where he got it from) and he'd had it for as long as I can remember. I don't remember when I first told him that I wanted it, but I remember always wanting it. My dad always used to answer me that it would be mine when he died. Obviously, I never wanted him to die, but I still wanted the drawer. I think it meant a lot to him that I wanted it. I'm not even sure what it is about it that attracts me so much, it is just a feeling I have, that we belong together, and it hurts me to think of it standing there alone in a dark storage room far, far away from me and where it's supposed to be.

When my dad got sick, and we were told there was nothing to do to save him, my sister and I asked him to write down what he wanted for his final wishes. He had some wishes for his funeral, some things he wanted to say to us, and two things he wanted a special person to have, one of them was that I should have the drawer. It hurts me even more to think of the drawer not being with me because of that very reason. 

I know it will all fall into place one day, though, and I will be able to bring it here, so at the moment I am learning how to not put my writing dream too much together with the dream of the drawer, because the writing can't wait. I need to write first, and the drawer will be brought here. One way or another. 

The choice of song for this post was easy because today we learned that the world has lost one of it's greatest composers, James Horner. Mr Horner composed some of the best film scores ever composed, including the amazing My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. As much as I love the lyrics of the song, and they would fit tremendously well with the feelings I have right now thinking of my dad and his drawer, James Horner composed the music, but didn't write the lyrics, and so I wanted to find an instrumental rendition of it. 

In an interview, with the Los Angeles Times in 2009, James Horner said about his composing; "My job /--/ is to make sure at every turn of the film it's something the audience feel with their heart. When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears - at all times I'm keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role." I think that was the key to his success, he was feeling everything in his heart. And that is how I want to write. With my heart. 

Here is my choice for today; Taylor Davis, an amazing violinist, and wow, my heart is certainly feeling it!


Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Soulful Heartthrob

Home Free's high tenor Austin Brown is the youngest and the newest member of the group. They first met on a cruise ship in the beginning of 2012 where Austin was a featured singer and Home Free was a guest act. After becoming friends Austin let the guys of Home Free know that if they ever had a spot open they should give him a call, and later that year they did when their lead tenor, and original member, Matt Atwood decided to retire. As of January 2013 Austin is a full-time member of Home Free.

It is no surprise that Austin grew up to have a life in the musical world. As a child he split his time between travelling the south with his dad's southern gospel quartet, and his mum in church. Austin attended Baldwin High School in Milledgeville, Georgia. During the years in high school Austin pursued singing both in groups and as a soloist, and he had starring roles in a number of musical productions both at school and in the community.

He then went on to Oklahoma City University, with a full-tuition scholarship, where he majored in Music Theater and spent a lot of time nurturing his musicality in any way he could. Austin was a featured singer on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines during two periods after University, the first time in 2009-2010, and the second time in 2012, which is when he met Home Free. He was also a singer in the amazing a cappella group Voices of Liberty that performs at the Epcot Center in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida during 2012, to mention some of his musical achievements.

On his website Austin describes himself as a pianist, songwriter, actor, a cappella arranger and a vocalist, but here's the thing, though; all of these things I've just mentioned are just facts, and Austin is so much more than just facts, and here's why;

Whenever I hear Austin sing my heart stops, or skips a beat, or rushes as fast as it can. I'm not kidding. There is a reason why he is introduced as the Home Free Heartthrob during their show, and it is not only because of his good looks.

There is something special about Austin, there is an aura around him, but there is also soul in his voice in a way I have never experienced before. Yes, I say experienced because that is what it's like when Austin sings, an experience. It is not just another voice singing, you feel it from top to toe all the way into the depth of your soul. Every word, every sentence, every note has a meaning when Austin sings it. It speaks to your heart. I call him the man of many voices, because it doesn't matter if it's a happy song or a sad song, a funny song or a serious song, when Austin sings it it comes to life, and his voice sounds different in all of them. It's like his voice takes on a different personality depending on the feeling, and meaning, of the song. Actually, the same goes for his aura and looks in the videos. He transfers the feelings of the lyrics not only to his voice, but also to the way he looks.

Oh, and did I mention that his voice is out of this world? Seriously, the boy can sing! Like, really sing!

It's been difficult choosing videos and songs for all of the guys, but for Austin it's been even harder. There are just so many sides of him, so many voices, that I'd like to share and I had to narrow it down, but here we go;

The first video is a live video, and it's from their Full of Cheer tour last year, their Christmas tour. This performance was at the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minnesota where Home Free is based, and it's was around 5,000 people there. Here is Austin singing Bring Him Home from Les Misérables. Again, a big shout out and thank you to Heidi Rancour for sharing her live videos with us.

The second video is one of my favourites, it's the cover song and video of Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass. Just listen to that yodeling. Doesn't it make you smile? Austin did the arrangement of this song, and I love it!

Third is Dan + Shay's song 19 You + Me featuring Peter Hollens I love the twang Austin has in this song, and the emotion. This is also an arrangement by Austin.

Lastly, but only because I am limiting it to 4 videos, here's This Is How We Roll; original song by Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan; original scene and characters from the film The Big Lebowski. (If you haven't seen the film you should, if only to see the likeness of the characters.) Anyway, Austin kind of raps in this one. Kinda. And he wears a purple jump-suit and a hair net. So, yeah ...

That's that. Did you experience the different voices, and the different looks? Even if you didn't I am sure you enjoyed it.


munity along with his mother in churchwing up with his father in the southern gospel community along with his mother in church

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Happy Goodbye

Today I saw my friend T for the last time before she moves back to Sweden at the end of the month. It was a goodbye, but it was a goodbye where we both felt alive and happy. We are both very grateful for the time we've spent together because we have both grown a lot through our friendship. Saying goodbye to friends becomes a natural part of life when living in a place like this, in a more obvious way than when you live in a more "normal" place. Friends will always come and go in your life, that's just how it is, it's a part of life, but for a lot of people that move here it is a temporary thing and that is why a lot of people eventually move back to where they come from; to study, to work or to raise a family. And, even though it is always sad to say goodbye to someone you've gotten close to it is only fair to remember what that someone brought into your life.

I believe that you go through life learning and growing, if you are willing to, and both T and I love to learn and grow. We first met a couple of years ago in a Zumba class and we spoke for a few minutes every class, but we never met up outside of it. Until one day when we had spoken about work and that I had been thinking about applying for a job at the company where she worked: She encouraged me to do so, and she offered to read my CV and give some pointers on it before handing it in. And she did. And I ended up getting a job there. Next month I will have been there for 2 years. She however moved on before I started there, she had her dreams to fulfill and live.

Anyway, after this we started to meet every once in a while, like 3-4 times a year, because we are both extremely busy people that just couldn't get our schedule to fit more often than that. It's a shame in some ways, but then again, things have a way of working out like they're supposed to. I guess we met as often as we needed to to fulfill our needs of each other. Every minute we ever spent toghether was fun and uplifting, filling us with positive energy and love to continue our different walks towards our dreams.

When I met her today I was feeling a bit down, and a bit fed up with this and that. When we said goodbye I felt like I can do anything I want to, and I will!

Now, that is a perfect friend in my world. I know we will keep in touch, and I know we will see each other again; she is now added to my list of people to see whenever I visit Sweden; and she will be back here for visits too.

So, for now, I can only say that I am grateful and happy to have her as my friend, and that I wish her all the best in life. I don't doubt for a second that she will get everything she wants, and whoever gets to have her in her life can consider themselves lucky and blessed. I know I am.

Thank you for coming in to my life, T! I will miss you, and I love you!

This song is for you!


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Home Free + The Oak Ridge Boys = True!

Very early this morning (my time), or very late last night depending on how you live your life, The Oak Ridge Boys announced on Twitter that on the 22nd of June they will go into the studio with Home Free to record ORB's hit song Elvira together. This is news a lot of us Fries have been waiting and hoping for. We know that the two groups have a mutual respect for each other and are friends, both groups have a bearded member and a member that likes to wear hats; in The Oak Ridge Boys it just happens to be same member and in Home Free they are two different members; both groups have amazing harmonies and both groups also have awesome bass singers. The biggest difference between the two groups is that The Oak Ridge Boys has instrumental music to their songs, and Home Free does not. Another thing the two groups will have in common soon is the Grand Ole Opry, where The Oak Ridge Boys has performed for decades already, and Home Free will have their premiere performance next month. I am sure that first one will be followed by many in the years to come, just like The Oak Ridge Boys. In a way I guess Home Free is the new The Oak Ridge Boys.

The Oak Ridge Boys have a long history with name changes, genre changes and member changes, but the current line-up have been around since the early 70's, and by then they were already a country band. They bring a lot of experience to the table, and this is a great opportunity for Home Free to get their name out their some more.

Edit; Check out the result right here! 

The collaboration with The Oak Ridge Boys is not the first collaboration that Home Free has been involved in; their video of Ring of Fire, by Johnny Cash, features Avi Kaplan, the bass singer of Pentatonix. They also did a Christmas song together with the violinist Taylor Davis - yes, there was an instrument on a Home Free song. Another collaboration they did was with Peter Hollens on Dan + Shay's hit song 19 You + Me. Peter and Home Free did two different versions and videos of the same song, they then released them at the exact same time and they are both great. 

You can check out the videos by following these links; 

You can read all about The Oak Ridge Boys here, they have way too much of history to cover in this little piece.

If you have never heard Elvira before, you can check it out below. And if you have heard it before I'm sure you'd like to hear it again. Anyway, this is the song they will be recording next week, and I am extremely excited to hear the result, and I am hoping for a video at some point too.

Edit; One of my readers reminded me of the amazing collaboration on Baby It's Cold Outside with the Canadian Singer Kira Isabella. This is one song I've always really liked, but I've also always felt there was something missing. Up until I heard this rendition. Maybe you like it too. Thanks, VJ, for the reminder.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Summer Is Here

So, summer time is here, and for us here where I live it's only just begun, we've got days, weeks and even months ahead of us with sunshine, warm weather, nice shade and sweat dripping from the forehead the same moment you step out of the shower. And I love it! Sure, at times it gets too hot, like at nights, but it makes me happier than cold and darkness does. And by the end of the summer I will be waiting for the rain so I can dance in it, because it will be months now before I get to see any.

Summer time also brings cool drinks, barbecuing, beach and pool hanging, late nights and cheerful music to sing along to. To be truthful I don't spend a whole lot of time in the sun as my skin is fairly sensitive, and I have discovered the relaxing effect of the shade where it's not too hot, there's no sun in my eyes when I read, and I don't have to worry as much about getting burned. Another good thing about living in a warm climate.

Another part of the summers here, that I love are the warm nights and late dinners outside when I don't have to put more clothes on than I had during the days. There's no need for jackets or cardigans, or even scarfs. Speaking of late night dinners outside; we are planning on building our own dinner table for our roof top terrace, the plan is to have it done within a month. I just need to decide on the design and size so my boyfriend can get us what we need to build it. It will be a lot of fun! I'm sure we will enjoy some nice dinners there. The view from our terrace at nights is amazing and very relaxing and I plan to sit at that big table late nights and write.

Every summer also brings new music, and 10 days ago Home Free released their first single/video from their new album, to be released in the fall. This song feels like a summer hit to me, and I hope that radio stations all over the world will pick up on it. It's a country song about summer in the country, and the video shows the guys of Home Free, and their crew, with their significant others having fun on a sunny summer's day, in the country. This brings up childhood memories to the surface, good memories of family, fun and laughter, and water games. It almost makes me wish I had a lawn with sprinklers instead of a roof terrace with a fabulous view. Or, I wish I had both. Why choose when you can dream of having both. Anyway, this song feels  like summer to me!

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do! And, please, share it with your friends and if you have a favourite radio station why not share the song with them too. Here's Summer in The Country.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Beard, The Whistle, The Voice

Rob Lundquist of Home Free is known to be a cuddly teddy bear, to have the beard of a real man and the voice of an angel. At least that's how he is introduced by his fellow Home Free Guys during their shows. And even though I haven't met him, that's how I see him too, and those that have met him all agree to this description.

Technically Rob is the 2nd tenor of the group, providing harmonies along with baritone Chris Rupp when lead tenor Austin Brown sings, but honestly, Rob is so much more than that. From what I have heard and seen Rob can do most anything. He can sing like an angel, rap like a true rapper, whistle like a bird and he can even do some beat boxing. He is funny and entertaining, and, yes, he does have a beard like a real man. 

Rob graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a B.A. in Music, and a minor in Political Science. During his years at the University he was a member of the vocal jazz ensemble Lake Effect, where his professor had him learning "some wicked hard" tracks. Before University Rob had only been singing for a little over a year, and his vocal instructor at Duluth, Rachel Inselman, more or less taught him how to sing. Rachel has said about Rob that "he was a natural with quite a varied repertoire. He was equally talented in singing opera, musical theatre, and jazz, and that is quite rare." Rob says that they both helped him prepare for what was to come with the crazy hours rehearsing for the Sing Off years later.

According to Rob the whole growing a beard thing also started while attending Duluth, as a way to stay warm during the cold winters. Well, at least I think it looks good on him, and we know Shawn Stockman, Boys2Men, does too after he said to Rob on the Sing Off that "you should never lose that beard". 

After University Rob joined the well-known a cappella group Four Shadow during the last year of their existence, and when Home Free heard they were calling it quits they reached out to Rob offering him the part as 2nd tenor with them. That was in 2008, and we are all very happy he took their offer and stayed with them. 

I've been trying to find words to describe how it makes me feel when Rob sings, whistles or goof around, and the one emotion that stands out is happy, he makes me feel happy. I mean, they all do in their different ways, and together, but Rob always looks so happy with that big smile on his face, and it shines through in everything he does with Home Free. When he whistles it makes me smile, when he sings like an angel it makes me smile, and when he's being silly it makes me smile. And smiling makes me happy. 

Deciding which videos to share with you has not been an easy task, as there are so many to choose from, but here you go. This first one is live from a show, because I want you all to see that his whistling really is crazy good; here's the good old Rockin' Robin;

This next video always makes me smile and dance. The song is a cover on Honey, I'm Good by Andy Grammer, and the video is based upon the film Groundhog Day. The combination of Rob's voice, the song and the fun video is hard to beat!

Next up is the Butts Medley, or the Butts Remix, live. This song will show you Rob's rapping skills. And it will give you a good laugh; remember, these guys don't take themselves too seriously, and neither should you. At least not with songs like this.

I'll finish this up with one of the newer videos of Home Free; the Wagon Wheel/ Song of The South Medley. Again, this makes me smile, and you can check it out live on Heidi Rancour's YouTube channel, that is where I get the live videos from. Thanks again, Heidi, for sharing them!

Don't you just love Rob and his crazy all-around talent? I know I do!

Oh, and did he make you smile too?


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Catching Up Medley

I was yelled at over the phone today. By one of my colleagues from Sweden. He was very upset with me because of the lack of new posts lately. Well, OK, he didn't yell, but he did tell me I need to post something new. It's been way too long since my last post, he said. And he was right, of course, still it was kind of nice to hear it. My blog is the only blog he follows so I have a responsibility to keep posting. So, thank you A, this one is for you! You better enjoy it!

OK, there are a few reasons I haven't posted anything in a while. First of all I was in Sweden, and for a few days I was without an internet connection so I couldn't post. I did write some posts, but when I finally had connection again the posts felt out of date, and I was too busy to write something new. After I came back home again I got a headache, leading to a 4 day migraine attack. Not fun and a joy of my life, but hey, at least it didn't last for 5 days! And after that I've started a few posts, but I didn't feel any inspiration. I have no choice today, but that's OK because today I am inspired!

Let's talk about my trip to Sweden. What did I do? How was it? Who did I see? Well, over a period of 10 days I was in 5 different towns, and I saw 56 people. The youngest was my new little nephew of 6 weeks, the oldest was my granddad of 82 years. Some I saw for only a few minutes, and some I saw for a few days. Some I had never met before, and some I see every time I go back. It was a perfect mix of family and friends, old ones and new ones. Well, almost perfect, there are always a few people I wish I could have seen, but it didn't work out that way. Hopefully next time!

I also went through my stuff, which wasn't more than a few boxes of a mix of things that was mine, my dad's and my grandma's. There were a lot of rubbish, I got rid of 5 big bin liners with stuff, but there were some treasures as well. I found old papers after my grandma, like food rationing coupons for the years after World War 2 when my dad was just a baby; and kitchen towels monogrammed with her maiden name initials. My dad had those things in possession when he died, and I apparently kept them. I was in such a bad state when I left Sweden to move to Spain so I had no memory of keeping those things. But I love it that I did! There were also some things that was my dad's, like photographs, and letters I wrote to him when I was a kid, and drawings my son made for him when he was a kid. And his journals, actually calendars, where he jotted down a few words of what had happened a few times a week, or when something in particular had occurred. Events like when he saw, or spoke to my sister and myself, or when he had doctor's appointments or had dinner at my grandma's. And among my own things were my photographs, the most important ones where all there; my baby pictures, and my son's baby pictures. I wasn't sure they would be there, but they were. Memories of life and love!

All those things I brought with me to Spain, except for what I didn't want to keep, and my dad's drawer. It was so nice to see it again, and I have more love for it than I remembered. I can't wait to find a way to get it here. After the summer, before the end of this year, is what I hope for. I just need to figure out the cheapest and best way to do it.

What else did I do in Sweden? Well, I had a couple of days with no plans and one of those days I spent with my best friend and it was rainy and cold outside so we slept in, had a nice chat by the kitchen table, and then we watched films all evening, cuddled up under blankets and we had sweets and chips and dip for both lunch and dinner. Yum! I also had a nice dinner and evening alone with my mum for the first time in, well, maybe all my life. She cooked and we had some wine and stayed up chatting until after midnight. I also had a nice dinner out with some friends one evening, and I saw my granddad a total of three times. And the last evening I watched Sweden win the Eurovision Song Contest for the 6th time, it was exciting and nail biting and oh so much fun. Måns Zelmerlöw was great and performed the song Heroes perfectly! I am so happy got to share that evening with my sister and her best friend. Next year I plan on being there in person to see it live, it's supposed to be a great live event. With Home Free coming to Europe and Eurovision being held in Sweden I have decided to make next year a year of live music. I am very excited to see what else will come my way!

Speaking of music, and Home Free, they released a new video yesterday and as always I am in love with both the song and the video. This time it's a medley of Song of The South by Alabama and Wagon Wheel by Old Crowe Medicine Show, and it's smooth and soothing, and fun. It's even more fun in concert, so have a look for a live video of it on YouTube, there are several to choose from, and you will see the guys interact with their audience while singing it. It's fun, and I wish I was there. Of course.

So, A, are you happy now?

Did anybody else miss me? If so, what would you want me to write about next? What posts are your favourites? Let me know in the comments, please.