For My Sunday Song #170, we are choosing the song “Brother” by Needtobreathe as the final song in the 10 song Needtobreathe series. This song is the one with Gavin DeGraw as guest vocalist and not the version on the album “Rivers in the Wasteland”. Although I liked that version, I think having the duet added a lot to the song since it felt more like it matched the meaning of the song. The song only reached #98 on the Billboard charts, but the Christian charts had it reaching #1.
The song came about due to the issues between two brothers. Those brothers were Bear and Bo Rinehart. Their friendly competition turned in to more of a blame game as times got difficult for the band as they struggled during the work on the album ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’. They finally worked things out once they actually talked to each other confessed their own personal faults. Once that was done, they realized how important it was to have a brother working with you and beside you rather than compete with you. They turned that in to a beautiful song.
The song has a church feel and some choir-like backing vocals to help add to that effect. Having Bear and Gavin do it as a duet it gave the song that back & forth that it needed to give it the effect of two brothers going at it and making amends to each other. It gave the song more dimension and heart. Their voices worked so well together and their tones blended nicely and gave the song the emotion it needed.
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For My Sunday Song #169, we are going to talk about the very first Needtobreathe song I ever heard. The opening track to the album ‘Daylight’ called “Don’t Wait for Daylight”. The song that started it all for me. The one that said…these guys are special…they have a sound I like…their songs are interesting…I can get it in to this…and I did. 13 years later they are now one of my all-time favorite bands.
This song is really interesting as a band that was supposed to be a “Christian” band (which they are not) tackled a very delicate subject. Well, actually two delicate subjects…Suicide and Affairs. The song is about a woman who was having an affair with man and while she was going to his house to end it, she wound up stealing his coat so she could have a piece of him to remember and never said a word. Inside the coat pocket was a note. Not just any note. A suicide note that he wrote for his wife. Now here is where it gets interesting. Does she tell someone and save him? If she does, it will then be known she has cheated on her husband. Quite a predicament. The song is telling her not to wait. She has to let people know. She has to come clean and save this man’s life even if it mean destroying her world. Wow!
Musically, it is a great rocker, upbeat tempo and a standout opening track to an album. The guitar work is fantastic with a nice opening riff and pulsating beat accompanying Bo’s guitar. The song has punch and has an intensity that matches the lyrics. There is a sense of urgency in the music the same as the urgency in the need for the woman to let someone know about the note as she struggles with her decision. Bear’s vocals show range and has a maturity that most singers don’t have on their first album. It has a little raspiness to it that gives it the grit that makes for a great rock singer.
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For My Sunday Song #168, we are going to discuss one of the band’s more popular songs called “Keep Your Eyes Open” from the 2011 album ‘The Reckoning’. The song was released as a single and even as a 5 song E.P. with two versions of this song, one being acoustic, and 3 bonus tracks, two of which end up on the vinyl release of the album. And one of those bonus tracks we discussed as the first one in this Needtobreathe series.
The song can be interpreted in many ways. I look at it as a song of encouragement that no matter how bad things get, keep soldiering on and pushing toward the light. Keep those eyes open for whatever positive might come along.
It also seems to be about depression and that God is there for you if you keep those eyes open and accept him in, but I don’t think it is that easy. Depression is a powerful force and although I think God can help maybe keep you on this side of heaven, he is not the be-all, cure-all solution as I know someone very close to me that suffers from depression and it is tough road to travel even with God fully in their life. Okay, I might burn in hell for saying that, but sorry that is how I feel. Unless you have been through depression or know someone who has, you don’t know the daily struggle they face. I prefer the song as a shining example of hope and encouragement that can help you push through those dark days.
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As you know if you visit my site, one of my favorite bands is Needtobreathe. I have everything they have put out on vinyl and now I am going after everything they have released on CD (that they don’t have on vinyl). And the CDs I want the most are the exclusive fan club CDs they release each year.
If you join the Needtobreathe Insiders fan club (for $60 a year), you get a Live CD of tracks collected from the band’s live performances. (among other things such as a T-shirt and a free live track download ever month – that is 12 more songs). Needtobreathe actually records every show they put on so they have a ton of tunes to choose from. They have released 5 volumes and number 6 will be coming in December. I have never joined so getting my hands on these has not been easy as it is not cheap. I am looking for the right price and most of the time it is too high. I finally grabbed my first one at a price less than the membership fee.
Who is the band and the musicians on this album? Easy enough, they tell you that…
The first one I got a hold of is ‘Insiders LP, Vol 2’. It is a collection of 14 live tracks from around world and let me tell you it is fantastic. The band has spent some time with these and the production quality is amazing. They put as much time in to them as they would a normal studio album or live album release to the general public. The mix is done so the songs blend in with each other perfectly and it feels like a complete show.
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For My Sunday Song #167, we are playing “Don’t Bring That Trouble” by the band Needtobreathe. The song is off their 2016 album ‘Hard Love’ which saw the band’s sound change a little adding a little more dance/pop elements without losing that signature Needtobreathe feel.
“Don’t Bring That Trouble” is the most rocking track on the record. It has a great guitar riff opening and sound. The drum beats come banging in and though not real drums, the electronic beats pick up the pace of the song and drive in to a more rocking track than the rest of the album. There is even a southern rock/country vibe thrown in with it as well. Overall, it is pure fun and enjoyment and sometimes you need to let loose and let it fly and this does that.
Lyrically, there is not much substance like a lot of their songs I have featured. The song is basically talking about how he is broken and he is trying to fix his life and problems and if you are coming along for the ride, don’t bring any trouble as he doesn’t want to deal with that anymore. For me, it doesn’t matter as I want to crank it up and dance a little. Sometimes, lack of substance is fine with me!!!
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For My Sunday Song #166, we are discussing “Stones Under Rushing Water” by Needtobreathe. The song is off their 2009 album “The Outsiders” and it shows the softer side of the band. The album was really the bands big break and ended up getting them noticed by Taylor Swift and the band opened for her on tour for a large number of shows. I had found the band from the beginning so there growing success was no surprise to me.
The song is a really simple song lyrically. It talks about how fast life passes us by and it will be gone before you know it. He is telling you to slow things down, take it all in and cherish every moment. It also seems to be about a relationship that has drifted apart and the spark has left them. They need to stop long enough to remember what they had and find that spark again. Either interpretation is right as you can make up your own mind on what it means to you.
Musically, the song is an acoustic track and one of the first duets the band has done. Sara Watkins from the band Nickel Creek accompanies Bear Rinehart on vocals. Her voice is so delicate and beautiful and compliments his vocals quite nicely. She brings that extra layer of sadness and heartbreak to the song. There is no guitar solo, but Bear does a harmonica solo that adds a whole new layer of melancholy to the song. All in all, it is quite a beautifully sad song.
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For My Sunday Song #165, we are talking about the song “Maybe They’re On To Us” by Needtobreathe. The song is off their wildly successful album “The Reckoning” which came out in 2011. The song was not a single, but still a favorite of mine. The album did really well and went to #6 on the Billboard charts thanks in part to this song and all the great songs on this album.
The song is about paranoia. For the band, that paranoia is a wondering if the fans know too much about the them and will figure out who they really are and not like them. Maybe the will stop listening and it will all just go away. They were starting to get successful and they had a fear of it disappearing in a flash. That is an honest fear.
I think people feel that way in everyday life as well. You walk around in life wondering if people will realize you are just faking it trying to get by day-to-day. Maybe they will discover you really don’t have your stuff together after-all…but honestly who really does? I don’t think anyone. We are all faking it a little each and every day.
Musically, I really love Bear’s vocals. His delivery of the lyrics, his pacing and everything he sings is so purposely and perfectly placed. There is a smooth, driving groove that takes you through the song. Then throw in the backing vocals on the bridge/chorus that help give it that church-like/choir feel.
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For My Sunday Song # 164, we are talking about “Difference Maker” by Needtobreathe. The song was the debut single off their album ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ from 2014. The song reached #16 on the Christian charts and might be one of the most powerful song they have ever written lyrically.
The song is best described by Bear Rinehart himself. I found this on the Newreleasetoday.com website. It is an article written by Kevin Davis when he interviewed Bear about the song. Bear states the following…
This song is my story of trying to understand my role in God’s plan. We were on tour with a secular artist, Taylor Swift, playing to 20,000 and even 50,000 people per night. We felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. Despite our efforts, I didn’t feel like we were having the impact we are called to have.
I think God was asking us at this time, “What are you doing this for? Are you doing it for Me?” And, I think that’s where this song was birthed. That confusion is almost a good thing. The bridge says “I am on the fence about nearly everything I’ve seen.” I meant that in how the whole band was going through a “we surrender to God” kind of way.
We don’t need to be concerned about what happens after we’ve given up this gift we have to God. That was really powerful for us. We had ambition and let that take too much of a priority in things that led us down a road that wasn’t good. I think that in trying to re-prioritize, God wants us to sacrifice those things, those idols in our lives. Some idols for us were wondering what the outcome was going to be, that we had the upper hand or maybe we were the best band out there, or we thought we were the most clever at it.
I feel like the beginning of the song is us asking ourselves are we really difference makers. How valuable are we, really? Towards the end of the song it comes around that God makes us a part of what He does, which is so crazy. It starts with us realizing that we don’t get to make the rules. We don’t control it, and we don’t get to say what the timing is. It’s not because of our talents. He doesn’t need that. He needs our willing hearts.
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For My Sunday Song #163, we are going to dive in to the title track from their 2009 album, ‘The Outsiders’. The opening track to an album that went on to win a Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year. At this point in their career, this was the best effort.
The song is about how the band feels with their place in the music industry. Being from a small town in South Carolina with a very small music scene, the band never quite felt like they were fully accepted in to the music industry. They feel like they are outsiders in a business they have been in for about 10 years at this point. With that feeling of being an outsider also allows for a freedom. A freedom to do whatever they want creatively and musically. That freedom has led to some amazing songs (this one included).
The song opens with Bo picking on a banjo, then Bear comes in singing then some hand clapping and some good foot stomping beats. The country style opening lends its way to a rock song with some southern flair which is something they do best. They keep that Americana, folk feel in their sound and turn the song into an anthem for a whole generation of people that feel they are outsiders in whatever group they are in. It is a rally to embrace it and accept it and take advantage of it at the same time. Ironically, their fan club is actually called “The Insiders”.
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Back in 2006, my brother told me I had to listen to this album called ‘Daylights’ by the band Needtobreathe. I had never heard of them and I trust my brothers opinion since he did bring me in to the Kiss world when I was like 6. He said they were a Christian Rock band and they were amazing. Well, he was sort of right. They were awesome, but they aren’t just a Christian rock band. They are a rock band who happens to be Christian and a lot of their views are in their music, but they aren’t bible thumping. They are telling honest stories that will hopefully impact you in some way.
And impact me they have. Their music is what I go to when I need inspiration, I need to feel better or I just need some good roots rock music sometimes with a Southern Rock flair. For me, it is all good and there is no “Worst Album”. After 6 studio albums, 2 live albums and numerous E.P.’s, they are still one of my all-time favorite bands out there and I hope they continue for years to come. The band is as follows:
- Bear Rinehart
- Bo Rinehart
- Seth Bolt
- Josh Lovelace
I am keeping this list to just the 6 studio albums and let this be your gateway in to the band. Remember, these are in order of my least favorite to my very favorite and that might not be your order, but that is fine. It is only my opinion. So be kind. And here we go…Needtobreathe!!
WORST – THE HEAT (2007):
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