Singer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Shupe says he likes to "stretch" the abilities of his band, fittingly called the Rubberband.
"Ever since we started as a band, we have played to different audiences and mixed things up a bit,"" Shupe said in an interview. ""We have played arts festivals, country shows and eclectic festivals that also featured groundbreaking artists such as Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. So, we are always trying to find new ways to present our music."
Shupe and the band multi-instrumentalist Craig Miner, drummer Bart Olson, guitarist Roger Archibald and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tilby have just released a new CD, "Last Man Standing," on Montage Records. It's the follow-up to the group's 2005 major-label release "Dream Big," which was done for Capitol Records Nashville.
Shupe thinks the band's time with Capitol Records was a good thing.
"We learned how the music business works when we're there," said Shupe. "It was educational. We learned about the business side and how to deal with the artistic side. We learned how to 'walk the line' between the two and how all the sides impacted each other."
With the Capitol contract wrapped up, the band decided an independent label would be a better fit.
"They have some plans for us," Shupe said. "We have our ideas as well."
When recording "Last Man Standing," Shupe said the band literally felt no big-label hangover or pressures in the process.
"Our fans who have known us from the start have introduced us to new fans," Shupe said. "And they all know that we can be different from one song to the next, let alone one album from the next.
"And (the fans have) been with us throughout this crazy ride. This is our fourth album, and all the guys in the band are great musicians. They want to be challenged as well. If you stay too long with one style, you start getting stifled."
Still, Shupe said, when listeners hear the new album, they will know it is the Rubberband.
"It is not unlike the other CDs because we have a style, but it does have us expanding our sound."
"Last Man Standing" took about 1 1/2 months to record, mix and master, Shupe said. "We started out with 15 songs and recorded 13. Then we cut two and ended up with 11. So, we have two songs that we consider 'B-sides."'
The band produced most of the album with the exception of three songs produced by Jason Deere, who produced all of "Dream Big.""It is always good working with Jason," Shupe said. "And we are very proud of this album."
If you go ...
What: Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband
Where: Sandy Amphitheater, 1300 East and 9400 South
When: Today, 8 p.m.
How much: $9-$12