SHUPE

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand are returning to Logan on Dec. 2 as a part of their annual Christmas tour for a show at Logan High School. The tour, which begins this Saturday in Rexburg, runs through December with dates in Idaho, Utah and Colorado.

The five-piece group, fronted by Ryan Shupe, plays a diverse blend of genres, featuring banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and more, which Shupe describes as a “weird hybrid of bluegrass and rock.”

The group has been playing together since the mid ‘90s and over time fell into the tradition of yearly Christmas shows.

“I’d always been to Christmas concerts and they always seemed maybe not-quite-fun-enough for the holiday season,” Shupe said. “I wanted to make it fun for families.”

For their Christmas concerts, the group adds their own twist to holiday standards while adapting some of their own popular songs.

“The Christmas show is kind of fun because we always try to make things a little bit different,” Shupe said.

In 2002, the band released its Christmas album “The Gift.” Many of the songs on the album have become annual tour mainstays, like a reggae-influenced “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” or a bluegrass “Jingle Bells,” as well as the album’s title track, a Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand original.

Shupe and the RubberBand have also added a Christmas flavor to some live-show fan-favorites: “The Corndog Song” becomes “The Eggnog Song,” while “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” becomes “The Grinch Went Down to Whoville.”

“It’s kind of like the untold story that Dr. Seuss didn’t include in his book,” Shupe said.

Shupe said the band, founded as a “post-yeehaw funkadelic hip-hop newgrass band,” didn’t set out with the intention of having a perennial Christmas act. Over time, however, the group found themselves performing alongside other bands for a yearly holiday show.

“Over time, we started getting more Christmas songs, and we started thinking, ‘Hey, let’s go try this,’” Shupe said. “And so we first tried a show in Provo, and then we did Provo and Ogden, and then Salt Lake, and then let’s expand up to Logan and Idaho and Richfield and St. George, and this year we’re adding Denver to that.”

Shupe said the band likes to keep shows loose, allowing for experimentation and improvisation that might connect with a crowd in the moment.

“I just like the Christmas show,” Shupe said. “It’s just fun.”

Shupe said that although the tour aims to inject a certain energy into holiday entertainment, there’s still a strong focus on keeping the show on-theme.

“It’s definitely fun, it’s unique, but then also has a good Christmas message and Christmas spirit about it,” Shupe said.

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand will be playing at Logan High School at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2. Tickets can be purchased at ryanshupe.com.

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