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LEMOORE — Harmonizing quartet 98 Degrees will visit and perform at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino Thursday night to promote the group’s latest Christmas album, “Let it Snow.”

“We do all the hits, of course, and we do a lot of Christmas songs,” said member Justin Jeffre in a phone interview Tuesday about the upcoming performance. “There’s fun stuff in there.”

The current tour kicked off a couple days ago, Jeffre said, adding fans should expect a fun, 90-minute show. He said it’s not a typical pop concert, but is more like a theater show that has some rock 'n' roll elements and even some a cappella.

Jeffre didn’t want to give all the details away before the show, but said there will be a section of the show that plays out like a classic Christmas special.

The group, comprised of members Jeffre, Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey and Jeff Timmons, formed in 1997 during the height of the boy band craze.

98 Degrees sets itself apart from other boy bands of the late 1990s in the fact that the members formed the group themselves before breaking into the music industry and were not assembled by a producer or record label.

The group of 20 years, which was initially signed by Motown Records, also uses more R&B-tinged vocal harmonies, as opposed to the mainstream pop sound of other groups during that time.

98 Degrees’ self-titled debut album came out in 1997; but the group’s breakthrough came with the 1998 album “98° and Rising”, which included a song that appeared in the animated Disney film “Mulan.”

The group then recorded “This Christmas” in 1999 and “Revelation” in 2000 before taking an extended hiatus. The group’s most recent album — prior to the current Christmas album — was “2.0” in 2013.

“Let it Snow” comes 18 years after “This Christmas,” which Jeffre said collectively was the group’s favorite to record.

Jeffre said the group wanted to do songs they have never done before on the new album; saying there’s a mix of Christmas songs, including classic tunes, newer songs, up-tempo beats and ballads.

“We’re all very proud of it,” Jeffre said of the latest album.

Jeffre said recording a Christmas album is always an interesting experience, especially because the songs are recorded during the summertime. It was also different this time around because the guys are married and have children now.

“It was still a lot of fun,” Jeffre said. “We love to perform together.”

In fact, Jeffre said all the guys get along great and have more fun together now than they did when they were younger. He said they’re always joking with each other and definitely consider themselves family.

“We’ve been through so much together,” Jeffre said. “We’re fortunate to do what we do and fortunate that it’s still fun for us.”

Jeffre said he hopes people purchase “Let it Snow” and enjoy it as much as the group does, adding he “hopes everyone has fun at the show and comes out to see us.”

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News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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