If the phrase “male a cappella group” conjures up an image of students in blue blazers, ties, and khakis singing traditional college songs on ivied campuses… think again. If, on the other hand, it conjures up campy college ensembles singing joke versions of “Like A Virgin” in boxer shorts… think again.
Straight No Chaser are neither strait-laced nor straight-faced, but neither are they vaudeville-style kitsch. As original member Randy Stine comments, “We take the music very seriously; we just don’t take ourselves too seriously.” In the process, they are reinventing the idea of a cappella on the modern pop landscape. Originally formed a dozen years ago while students together at Indiana University, the group has reassembled and reemerged as a phenomenon – with a huge fan base, millions of viewers on YouTube… and a contract with Atlantic Records. In an era when so much pop music is the product of digital processing and vocal pro-tooling, Straight No Chaser is the real deal – the captivating sound of ten unadulterated human voices coming together to make extraordinary music that is moving people in a fundamental sense… and with a sense of humor.
Broadway Series South Presents Straight No Chaser
at Progress Energy Center Meymandi Concert Hall
Tickets via Ticketmaster
“CHRISTMAS CHEERS,” the eagerly anticipated new album from ATCO/Atlantic
recording group Straight No Chaser, has arrived at all stores and DSPs
today. The collection features a selection of holiday-themed classics,
reworked in the acclaimed a cappella group’s inventive and original
style. The compilation is led by the brand-new single “The Christmas
Can-Can” and also features a studio version of the YouTube hit “The 12
Days of Christmas.”
Straight No Chaser is currently heralding the album’s release with a major
U.S. tour (see below itinerary). The dates — presented by Southwest
Airlines — will continue through a December 23rd tour finale at Raleigh,
North Carolina’s Progress Energy Performing Arts Center. As part of the
partnership with Southwest Airlines, Straight No Chaser will treat fellow
Southwest customers to surprise performances at airports across the
“CHRISTMAS CHEERS” follows Straight No Chaser’s smash debut, “HOLIDAY
SPIRITS,” which reached #1 at both iTunes and Amazon.com upon its release
last year. Songs from both collections and more are featured in the
10-member group’s upcoming PBS special, “Live In New York: Holiday
Edition.” The concert — filmed this past August at NYC’s famed Angel
Orensanz Foundation — will air throughout PBS’ annual December Pledge
Drive (check local listings). A video for “The Christmas Can-Can” from the
PBS special can now be seen on the re-launched www.sncmusic.com. The newly
updated site also features exclusive photos, audio, videos, blogs,
Twitter, tour dates and much more.
Straight No Chaser — who recently supported Barry Manilow’s sold out
Hollywood Bowl solo concert — will be appearing on QVC on November 25th,
with multiple appearances all through the day. What’s more, the group is
scheduled to appear on the Christmas Day edition of NBC’s “The Today
Show,” performing holiday favorites throughout the broadcast.
“CHRISTMAS CHEERS” highlights Straight No Chaser’s trademark vocal sound
and unique musical approach, while also incorporating much of the energy
and enthusiasm of their celebrated live show. Recorded in SNC’s home base
of Bloomington, Indiana, the album ranges from the hilarious “Christmas
Can-Can” (with lyrics by the group’s Walter Chase) to a beautifully
soulful take on “O Holy Night.” The 15-track collection also includes
such holiday classics as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Rudolph The
Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” and many more. The SNC original,
“Who Spiked The Egg Nog?,” was written by member Ryan Ahlwardt and
Straight No Chaser’s producer, Deke Sharon.
“The last album was a little more traditional,” says the group’s founder,
Dan Ponce, “a little more what you might expect from an a cappella
Christmas album. With the new album, we took a few more risks, and there’s
definitely a comedic element that weaves through the album. We wanted to
capture that aspect of our stage performance in our recordings.”
Founded at Indiana University in the fall of 1996, Straight No Chaser’s
goal was to expand the boundaries of the traditional college a cappella
group. From the start, they viewed themselves more like a local band that
just happened to use their voices as their instruments. As original member
Randy Stine comments, “We take the music very seriously; we just don’t
take ourselves too seriously.” In the process, they are reinventing the
idea of a cappella on the modern pop landscape.
In 1999, the graduating members of Straight No Chaser chose their
replacements, ensuring that the new tradition they had created would
continue on with successive generations of IU undergrads. Then, in 2006,
the unexpected happened — Indiana University decided to host a reunion
concert for the original members. In honor of the event, Randy Stine
posted footage from one of their 1998 concerts online.
To the group’s surprise, Straight No Chaser’s version of “The 12 Days of
Christmas” — interpolating Toto’s “Africa” — became the hottest viral
video of the holiday season, eventually receiving more than 10 million
views online. Among those millions of viewers was Atlantic Records
Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman, who tracked the group down and promptly signed
them to the label.
The birth of Straight No Chaser’s second life is a story of talent, drive,
and some very good luck. But their goal remains the same as it was back in
their college days. As Stine says, “We want the audience to not miss the
instruments, be surprised by what we’re doing, and in the end, appreciate
the songs in a whole new way.”
Taking off from the runaway success of “The 12 Days Of Christmas,”
“HOLIDAY SPIRITS” saw Straight No Chaser re-energizing holiday classics
such as “The Christmas Song,” “Silent Night,” and “Christmas (Baby Please
Come Home)” with their captivating and powerful vocal arrangements.
Fueled by appearances on “ABC World News Tonight,” “CNN Headline News,”
and NBC’s “The Today Show,” among others, the album spent 14 days in the
#1 slot on Amazon, and 5 days at the top spot overall on iTunes. The
group’s now famous version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” peaked in the
top 10 on the Christmas radio chart and reached the top 15 at Hot AC. On
their first-ever headline tour in December 2008, Straight No Chaser sold
out shows across the country.