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Straight No Chaser balances new songs, holiday favorites

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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Ordinarily the repertoire for a Straight No Chaser holiday show would be a no-brainer. After all, the a cappella group started its recording career with a pair of seasonal releases.

But the arrival of the troupe's fifth album, "The New Old Fashioned," in October throws a bit of a kink in the Christmas spirit.

"Yeah, it's a little tricky this time," Segge Isho, SNC's Rochester Hills native and Rochester High School alumnus, says by phone. "I mean when it's the holidays you have to take out five for six songs from the show and put in the holiday stuff. But we're doing a good job of keeping it fresh and finding a good balance of new stuff from the album as well as come of the older classics people come out to hear year after year."

"The New Old Fashioned" finds SNC -- which formed during 1996 at Indiana University and became a recording group in 2008 -- taking on voice-only arrangements of pop hits by Charlie Puth, The Weeknd, Radiohead, Hozier, Otis Redding and more, along with an original by co-founder Dan Ponce. Isho, meanwhile, teamed with groupmate Tyler Trepp for "The Movie Medley," writing parody-style lyrics for film scores from "Rocky," "Men in Black," "Titanic," Star Wars," "E.T." and more.

"Back in college we'd used to do a TV sitcom medley where we'd sing a bunch of theme songs, and people really thought it was funny," says Isho, 32, who recently moved back to the Detroit area, residing in Clinton Township. "So Tyler and I were like, 'Why don't we take it a step further? Why don't we do movie stuff and find songs that are instrumental and write words about what's going on in any given scene or the movies in general and TRY to make it funny?'

"It was a long process but it was a lot of fun. We went through a lot of drafts and we never thought we'd get all of those (rights) cleared 'cause there were so many different songs, but we did. And we got to do a video and self-direct it, which turned out great. We're trying to come up with a concept for the next one now; we're leaning towards Disney."

Next year, of course, will mark SNC's 20th anniversary. Isho expects something will happen on the IU campus, where the group there is now known as Another Round, but SNC will be spending its time focusing on new endeavors.

"We're trying not to focus on 20 years just 'cause it reminds us of how old we are," Isho says with a laugh. "We'll find some way to celebrate it, but we're busy, which is a great thing. Twenty years -- that's crazy. This little a capella band of ours is jsut chugging along. Nobody ever thought it'd get this far along, y'know?"

Straight No Chaser

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $29.50-$49.50.

Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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