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