Bear Rinehart is lead singer of the band Needtobreathe and if you follow my site at all you know I am a huge fan of that band. When I heard Bear was doing a solo project I was excited to see what different direction he might take. His first solo project definitely explores a different sound and style then his main job.
The name he chose is Wilder Woods which happens to be the names of his two kids, Wilder and Woods Rinehart. I think it is interesting he didn’t even use his own name on the project as he seems to want to keep it completely separate from Needtobreathe.
The album is a pure R&B and Soul album which is far from the Americana, Folk, souther rock sound of his other band. The opening track, “Light Shine In”, might the one song that sounds most like Needtobreathe with a little more of a rock edge and the track “What Gives You The Right” might have fit nicely on their album ‘Hard Love’ with its energy and alt-pop sound.
“Sure Ain’t” is classic R&B and one of the best songs on the album. He poors his heart and soul in to the vocals and there is this magical groove to pull you in. This is followed by ballad “Someday Soon” sees Bear go soulful and gives us his most heartfelt vocals.
Another R&B track is “Supply & Demand” where Bear is trying to woo his woman into a little more horizontal part of the relationship. It has a throwback sound and it is enjoyment for your ears.
“Electric Woman” might be the best song on the album with a catchy ass groove and its sultry vocal approach and seems to be another love song to his wife. And the cool thing is she is in the video with him.
Speaking of his wife, it takes balls to tell your wife that she is wrong and he does just that with “Mary, You’re Wrong” to start off Side 2. If she thinks he is going to leave her, she is mistaken as he has no desire and that is there for the long haul. “Feel” is straight out of the 70’s R&B era with the female backing vocals and the total sonics of the song.
“Hillside House” is a really slow song that seems real personal to him and I think it is another love letter to his wife who seems to be his muse for most of this album…which is really cool to see that she still pulls those feelings out of him after so many years of marriage.
The last track, “Religion”, is very church-like in its approach and you can hear his Christian upbringing in the church flow through even though it is a song that is talking about his struggles with religion. It is a little sad and the acoustic feel to the song keeps the voice as the highlight and lets you focus on the words.
It ain’t Needtobreathe and thankfully so as a solo album should be different. His first solo effort is a strong statement that he has a lot more to offer. There is a swagger and confidence in the style and his vocal delivery. I love the 70’s R&B vibes, the grooves and the soul that his heart is pouring out in his music and his lyrics. He made a modern R&B album that plays well today probably as well as it would have played in the 70’s. He has captured a sound that will hopefully resonate with everyone, young and old. My only complaint is the 2nd Side is a little weaker than the first, outside of that there are no other complaints. I would rate the album a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by.