The group is known for its ability to stretch out musically in all directions, pinging back and forth with a joyful spontaneity most bands could barely imagine, let alone achieve. Each member possesses years of experience on his respective instrument and when the band comes together on tunes like the bouncy “Don’t Leave Me Lonely,” or the frenetically fun title track, “Last Man Standing,” their collective talent is explosive and undeniable.
The five man band hailing from Salt Lake City Hutah include banjoist, bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and vocals Craig Miner, drummer Bart Olson, guitar and vocals Roger Archibald, bass and vocals Colin Botts, and Ryan Shupe, lead vocals, fiddle, mandolin and guitar. They initially signed with Capital Records where they made the well-received album, Dream Big, released in 2005 and produced by Jason Deere. That album produced the hit single “Dream Big” which was used as the theme song for NBC’s prime-time show, “Three Wishes”, hosted by Amy Grant. They later parted ways with the label, but continued to tour steadily and work on new material, some of which was heard by new label Montage Music Group, who immediately signed the group. Their new CD, “Last Man Standing,” is a progression from their previous albums.
With songs like the catchy “Don’t Leave Me Lonely,” and the optimistically ambitious title track, there’s no question that the band hasn’t changed their essence or core, but merely expanded into bigger territory musically. Tunes like the swayingly beautiful “All I Need,” (a love song penned by Ryan for his wife,) and the inspiring “10,000 Lakes,” with its encouraging wisdom, (“Give me eyes to see, to perceive, to believe, to imagine the possibilities) show a more serene side of the band, though they soon crank things back up to a fever pitch and return to their glorious picking on songs like the feisty rocker “My Life,” and the sunny “Be The One.” And the album’s closer, the hilariously retro ode to everyone’s favorite junk food, “Corn Dogs,” feels like a trip to the county fair and reveals Ryan and his brood haven’t lost their sense of humor amidst all that serious musical talent.
The CD contains something for everyone. Shupe says, "It’s a musician’s music, but it’s also for people who want a good tune. That’s kind of the beauty of our band, I think. We’re pushing the boundaries a little bit, and doing a rock country hybrid with banjo and fiddle and stuff. I want us to have songs that are great and mean something to people. We think it is the best sounding album we have to date.”