Needtobreathe released their new E.P. titles ‘Forever On Your Side (Niles City Sound Sessions)’ which is a longer name than the album as the album is merely an E.P. featuring only 4 tracks. The Niles City Sound Sessions is actually a place in Fort Worth, Texas with a trio of producers that call themselves Niles City Sound. Needtobreathe sat with them for a time and these four songs came from that session.
I have ordered this on a beautiful 10″ Pink Vinyl, but it won’t actually come until September which is a long way from now. I will have been to the concert supporting this release before I actually have the physical product. The concert is August 21st out in the blistering heat at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre. Nothing like a concert, outside in the middle of Summer!!!
The band consists of the following members…
- Bear Rinehart – vocals
- Bo Rinehart – guitar, banjo, mandolin
- Seth Bolt – bass, percussion
- Josh Lovelace – piano, organ
Since it is only 4 tracks, let us get right to it…
“Bridges Burn” was is the first track and it opened up with some weird “da-doo, da-doo, doo, doo, doo, doo nonsense (it isn’t that bad once you hear the rest of the song). I became skeptical real quick. Thankfully that was extremely short-lived. The song then turns into a classic Needtobreathe. The slow groove along with the piano accompaniment and Bear Rinehart’s vocals pouring out the emotion and allows you to feel everything he is releasing into the song. They are still incorporating some electronic elements, but not enough to distract.
Needtobreathe have a way about them that draws you in, not only to the music, but the message they are conveying. What I am getting from the song is that you need to let go of your past and everything from it that is weighing you down needs to be let go and put to pasture. This will allow you to move forward in new directions.
The second track is “Darling” and is one of the most honest and sincere love songs you will ever hear. The song is acoustic and mostly just Bear’s vocals. He pours his heart out to his wife and talks about how lonely he is on the road and how much he misses her. It is every touring musician’s struggle. He lays it out all on the table and it tears at your heart. Musically it captures the essence of the song with the hauntingly sad vocals and even the guitar tone and horns are so sad and lonely. It all works together beautifully.
“Bullets” comes at you with Bear’s vocals so high and then kicks in to the most upbeat song on the album. It is a classic Needtobreathe sound and delivers another great message which all their songs seem to do. “Bullets” talks about watching what you say and do because that bullet you use can’t be put back into the gun. Once it is out there, it is out there…just ask the Papa John’s Pizza CEO. I bet he wishes he could put that “N” word bullet back in his gun. It is a funky little ditty with some great piano and drumming. It is a fun little track.
Lastly, you get the title track, “Forever On Your Side”. This song features the band, JOHNNYSWIM, who are opening for Needtobreathe on this Summer’s tour. I can’t wait to see them as well. If you don’t know who JOHNNYSWIM are then you should watch on episode of ‘Fixer Upper’ as apparently Chip Gaines is real fan as his wife, Joanna, got them to come play at his birthday party…damn! Must be nice!!
Okay back to the song, it is another love song but definitely happier and more upbeat than “Darling”. It is almost gospel in style with its uplifting chorus and harmonizing. The banjo (or mandolin…I am not sure which) and guitar work give it that country/southern sound but still rooted in rock. It has piano accompaniment and with Amanda Sudano’s vocals added in the mix, it is another beautiful song from Needtobreathe. BTW, Amanda of JOHNNYSWIM is Donna Summer’s daughter.
‘Forever On Your Side’ E.P. is another sensational release by Needtobreathe. Their songwriting and musicality is second to none. The album takes them back to their roots and reminds us of why we love this band. I can’t speak more highly of this band. They are a band for me that I see their talent outshines their success. I think they are one of those bands that are flying under the radar of mainstream radio and chart success despite their obvious ability to be better than the everyone else and it is a crying shame.
I would give the E.P. a 4.75 out of 5. The only reason it doesn’t get a 5 is pure meanness on my part…I want FULL ALBUM!!! Otherwise, pick this thing up whether streaming or actually buying which I will give you both options below. You will not be disappointed as I am never with this band. If I had to pick a favorite band of mine over the last 15 years, these are the guys. They would make my Top 10 Favorite Band lists of all time as well.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks for stopping by.