Go behind the scenes of singing star Tim Foust’s visit home

Published 12:10 am Thursday, January 23, 2020

Nederland-native Tim Foust was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame Wednesday afternoon for his musical talents and efforts in the years since his all-male country a cappella band “Home Free” won NBC’s The Sing-Off competition in 2013.

Nederland native and member of Home Free Tim Foust poses for a photo Wednesday afternoon with his mom Dena Foust at the Port Arthur News prior to being inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame. (Mary Meaux/The News)

However, despite all his accolades and success, Foust wasn’t always a singer.

“I spent my whole life in Southeast Texas,” he said. “I grew up in Nederland. I went to Highland Park Elementary School, Central Middle School and Nederland High School.

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“I even spent a couple years at Lamar University as a pre-dental major before I just couldn’t fight the music itch any longer — I had to give it a shot. That was in 2001 and I never looked back.”

For most of the world, Foust is renowned for his rare five-octave vocal range, but to his hometown friends, teachers and family behind the scenes, he is just Tim.

Home Free’s Tim Foust records a portion of his upcoming documentary Wednesday in the Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame.

“I love Southeast Texas,” he said. “It’s such a big part of who I am and I love coming back and sharing my stories.”

Foust’s story includes more than music, but food, sports and theatre arts.

“I love coming back and aggressively eating my way through Southeast Texas,” he said. “Cajun food is just my favorite thing in the whole world.”

After landing in Houston earlier this week, Foust and company stopped at the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation restaurant, Buc-ee’s, Hamilton’s in Port Arthur, The Feed Store in Port Neches, Butcher’s Corner and Floyd’s in Beaumont.

“We’ve just scratched the surface,” he said. “I brought some of my buddies down who have never been out here before. Some of them are big foodies, so I can introduce them to my favorite restaurants in the area.”

In addition to being a foodie, Foust is also a huge sports advocate.

“I played soccer from the time I was a child and well into high school,” he said. “That was a really big part of my life until music took over. At first, I didn’t consider music as a career in high school. I always heard the music industry was fickle and scary.

Ahead of Tim Foust’s induction into the Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame Wednesday, the Home Free member introduced himself and his work for a future museum documentary video.

“My original plan was to be an orthodontist, but I really felt like I should give this music thing I try — and I’m thankful I did.”

Foust said coming home always reminds him of his childhood and a particular memory surfaced of the time he got kicked out of Nederland High School his senior year.

“I was in drama class,” he said. “We were doing this play called, ‘Into the Woods.’ The wolf dies pretty early on in the story, but everyone else who is in the play has these group lines that they recite together.

“I was hanging out in the classroom with all the techies and there were all these windows looking out to the back of the drama teachers head and the rest of the cast. They were all looking back my way to this window. I couldn’t resist the urge to stand up on a desk and moon everyone.

“I got kicked out for that,” he joked.

For Marcia Grzesiak and Eleanor Dennison, Foust’s hometown vibe and laid-back style are the reason they have followed his journey for the past seven years.

Grzesiak and Dennison travelled all the way from Chicago for his induction ceremony and following concert.

“The only reason we are down here is for Tim,” Grzesiak said. “We fell in love with ‘Home Free’ ever since they won The Sing-Off. They are just down-to-earth, normal human beings. They are so kind and generous with their private lives to us. We can’t ask for better than that, they never let the fame go to their heads.”

Dennison has been to 78 Home Free concerts in the last six years, including all of the Nederland stops.

“They connect with their fans,” she said. “They seem to really care and want to connect with all of us and the connection with his hometown is really evident.”