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Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand performing Christmas concert in Rexburg this weekend

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IDAHO FALLS — Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand will be returning to eastern Idaho this weekend to kick off their Christmas tour.

“This is the first time for the Christmas show (in Rexburg). We’ve been there four or five times over the years,” Shupe tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Rexburg’s such a good town. We’ve always had a great crowd.”

Those familiar with the band’s style can expect all the elements of a typical show with a unique Christmas twist.

“The Christmas show is a little different from our other shows,” Shupe says. “It’s a little bit more broad, musically. We have a few instrumentals and we even have an acapella song that we do.”

The show will include holiday variations of some of their popular songs. “The Eggnog Song,” for example, is a parody of “The Corndog Song.” “The Devil went down to Georgia,” a Charlie Daniels hit, is the inspiration for Shupe’s Christmas carol “The Grinch went down to Whoville.” Other songs include “Carol of the Bells,” “Silent Night,” and an original favorite “The Gift.”

Shupe grew up in Provo, Utah and was a fan of artists like Bruce Springsteen and The Police. He first started playing fiddle at age 5. He toured nationally at age 10 with a group called the PeeWee Pickers.

The concept of a “rubber band” first occurred to Shupe after he’d been a part of several bands that broke up. The idea was to keep the band “elastic” by having band members rotate in and out after several years. After nearly 25 years, it seems to be working. Their song “Dream Big” was a big hit on country radio about ten years ago and earned them national acclaim.

Though there is a lot of country and bluegrass flavor in the group’s music style, Shupe says record labels and music producers have had a hard time categorizing their music over the years, much to his amusement.

“We’d go to L.A. and they’d say ‘You guys need to go to Nashville.’ Then we’d go to Nashville and they’d say ‘You guys need to go to L.A.,'” says Shupe. “We’d go to radio stations and play our songs and the DJs would be like ‘Oh my gosh. We love it. You guys are so cool,’ and then they’d say ‘I can’t play it on the station because it’s too weird.'”

Social media has made it a lot easier for artists to get their music in front of fans, Shupe says. Nine albums later, it’s a thrill for him to hear fans sing along and shout out requests during live shows.

“We love to get out there and bring music to people,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d get to a point where I had so many songs I couldn’t play them all.”

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand are currently working on a live album, which will be out sometime next Spring. But for now, Shupe says he’s happy to be performing and he’s looking forward to Saturday’s show in Rexburg.

“We’re excited to make it up there. We have a lot of shows that we’ve turned into yearly traditions down here (in Utah). We wanted to find a place to start coming up there. We hope this is the first of many (shows).”

The show begins at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Rexburg Tabernacle Civic Center at 25 North Center Street. To learn more or to purchase tickets, click here.

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand courtesy photo
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