Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband
Produced by Jason Deere
Release Date: September 13, 2005
Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband are gearing up to release their Capitol Nashville debut, "Dream Big." "Dream Big" featuring their current single of the same title, will hit stores on September 13. "Dream Big" delivers a great message and has actually done pretty good on the charts for a debut single.
Upon receiving their sampler for review, one word would have described it all - skeptical. Skeptical of the success that this band could have; Skeptical of how this band could have landed a deal at Capitol and skeptical of where to classify them. A couple songs, including "Dream Big" pulled this sampler together and then songs like "Banjo Boy" crushed it once again, leaving skepticism on how this band could ever fit into the "country" genre.
The whole concept of Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband came together after seeing a live performance, though. If you don't see them live, this album can (and does) throw you off guard. Regardless, "Dream Big" includes their hit so that would be one good reason to buy it. "Banjo Boy" is the first track you get to hear besides those who have already heard "Dream Big." "Banjo Boy" is a little hip-hop, a bit of rap and pretty much just unexpected when compared to their "Dream Big" single. Once again, it was only after seeing them perform live, that the respect level for their music grew tremendously.
Next up on their album is a song entitled "Even Superman." Although the song starts off "echoed" and not very preferred, this song is much better when Shupe is just singing it. "Dream Big" is up next and like mentioned previously, this is their time to shine with this amazing single.
On "Simplify," Shupe tells it like it is. "I say, what the hay, I've got bills to pay." Everybody needs to "simplify" - so if you're like the rest of us, reduce the stress and simplify your life. "Would You Love Me" was one of the two original stand out tracks from their stripped down 6-song sampler. It still ranks in the top three from this overall debut. "Would You Love Me" would be great for radio so hopefully we'll see this as a future release.
"Ambush" shows amazing instrumentation in the great SHUPE fashion. Pure instruments are fun every once in awhile and this is no exception. "Rain Falls Down" was so uniquely performed live and the studio version easily competes. "Rain Falls Down" is another strong contender for potentially favorite tracks from "Dream Big."
"Never Give Up," "Oh How I Miss You" and "New Emotion" are the others from this album. Although those three are not stand outs, the other songs from this album made up the difference. It is expected for some songs to fall short and those personally don't add to their potential, but nonetheless, other tracks from the album leave the good impression.
Even though Ryan Shupe doesn't have the "strongest" pipes, he doesn't have to. The band connects them together when they come up short. "Dream Big" proves that when you're a group, you should act like it and this band finally does.
A little piece of advice - If you get the chance, see the band in concert first or just expect that what your about to hear is something really different. It might take you by surprise, but listen to it a couple times. You'll enjoy the album better once you understand them (by seeing them live) but nonetheless it's a great effort. - Janelle Landauer
Album picks: "Would You Love Me," "Dream Big," "Even Superman," and "Rain Falls Down."