Childhood exemplifies the pinnacle of freedom. Long before the insecurities, responsibilities, and doubts of adulthood set in, life presents a sea of endless possibilities and boundless wonder on a daily basis. This doesn’t have to change with age though. NEEDTOBREATHE reflect the freedom of youth on their seventh full-length offering, Out of Body [Elektra Records]. The GRAMMY® Award-nominated platinum-certified South Carolina trio—Bear Rinehart [vocals, guitar], Seth Bolt [bass, vocals], and Josh Lovelace [keys, vocals]—examine life, family, and friends through a youthful prism. The guys take stock of not only two decades as a band, but also first-time fatherhood and the future over a rich soundtrack of soulful rock with stadium-size scope and poetic intimacy.
“Looking at my sons, I’m constantly reminded to be in the moment,” admits Bear. “I’m competitive. I think too far down the road a lot. Then, it’s funny and eye-opening when you see a two-year-old naked in the yard with zero insecurities. As a parent, I try to grow as a person. I could be pretty neurotic before. Every time I’d walk into a room, I’d wonder if I was enough. I identified these survival mechanisms and began to see how many of them were keeping me from joy. All of these questions led me to write songs about pushing through that layer and getting to my authentic self. Seeing my children gives me a roadmap of where I should be.”
“We’ve experienced a lot of fresh inspiration,” adds Seth. “It’s been a season of learning. Bear didn’t hold anything back in terms of writing about life: all of the beautiful things and the most tragic things that have happened in the past four years. I’m really proud of the statement the record makes.”
Preparing to make such a statement, NEEDTOBREATHE have mounted a steady ascent to the top of the charts and packed arenas everywhere. Formed in 1998, the group attracted a loyal grassroots following with their full-length debut Daylight  and its follow-up The Heat . Two years later, The Outsiders became their first Top 20 entry on the Billboard Top 200 before eventually going gold. During 2011, The Reckoning landed at #1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums Chart and #6 on the Top 200. In addition to bowing at #3 on the Top 200, 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland yielded the platinum-selling Hot 100 hit “Brother” [feat. Gavin DeGraw] and “Multiplied,” which garnered their first GRAMMY® nod. Meanwhile, H A R D L O V E  marked their highest chart bow yet, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top Current Album Sales Chart, as the title track “Hard Love” [feat. Andra Day] scored a gold plaque. Along the way, they headlined and sold out iconic venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Greek Theatre, and Ryman Auditorium, to name a few. The group picked up a pair of nominations at the Billboard Music Awards, and received praise from People, Rolling Stone, Forbes, and more.
Following the release of Acoustic Live Vol. 1  and the band’s first ever 55-city acoustic tour in spring 2019, the very foundation of NEEDTOBREATHE evolved. Longtime member and Bear’s brother Bo departed from the band before sessions for Out Of Body began in 2019.
“On the first day, I don’t think we went in there knowing we could do it for sure without Bo,” confesses Bear. “We wanted to do it, but we had to prove it to ourselves. Every time we’ve had a change, it’s a challenge to find new angles. Things are inevitably going to be different. On the other side, I’m as excited about this album as anything we’ve ever done. That’s not because somebody is here or isn’t here. The timing is right with what’s going on in the world and us individually. It feels like medicine in a lot of ways, and I’m thankful for that.”
Initially, the guys spent a week at a beach house in Charleston to gather thoughts and ideas. Heading back to Nashville, they recorded alongside producers Cason Cooley and Jeremy Lutito over two separate sessions. As they cultivated a “team atmosphere,” the songs organically came to life.
“We decided to get the band back together in a room and make a rock ‘n’ roll record,” says Josh. “We all fell in love with our instruments again. Now that we’re older and have six albums under our belt, we tried to reimagine what it meant for us when we were starting out. We all brought in our strengths and relied on each other. In some ways, it was like summer camp. We worked long days and walked out of the room as friends.”
Bottling this energy, the first single “Hang On” sees the group collectively firing on all cylinders. Energetic guitars charge towards a stadium-size refrain as nostalgic lyrics grasp for a memory of fleeting bliss.
“Teen love gets a bad rap sometimes, but those emotions are as strong as any you’ll ever have,” observes Bear. “Don’t forget how hopelessly you went into those situations and how all-in you were. Look back for a minute and remember the things that made you who you are.”
“A lot of what we do is built on harmony,” adds Seth. “We’ve been singing with each other since we were literally kids. We got in the studio and recorded ‘Hang On’ together. During this pandemic, the message of hanging on is one people need to hear. We needed to hear it ourselves.”
The heartfelt ballad “Seasons” hinges on a starkly powerful vocal between delicate piano and plaintive strumming as Bear assures, “We’re in for nasty weather. I’ll ride it out with you.”
“A friend of mine was telling me a story about him and his wife,” recalls Bear. “They had all kinds of issues trying to get pregnant and with adoption after that. One day, he came home and found his wife crying on the floor. He told her, ‘We’re going to figure this out’. It struck me really hard.”
A heavenly chant, robust riff, and boisterous groove ignite “Alive,” which gleefully nods to “the first time I saw a concert, the first time I kissed a girl, and all of these other firsts,” according to the frontman. Then, there’s “Child Again.” With its glimmering keys and expansive rhythms, it crystallizes the overarching theme of “feeling safe to be a child again and confident enough to lose yourself in something.” Meanwhile, “Who Am I” echoes with an emotionally charged vocal performance and handclaps before a soaring chorus.
As a whole, Out of Body encapsulates a feeling shared among the three-piece.
“When I’m really in the flow on stage, I’m in the moment so much I don’t even know where I am,” explains Bear. “That didn’t happen to me often while creating music in the past. There was always too much thought behind it. I really wanted to capture the feeling in the studio, because I want to live my life more like that.”
In the end, NEEDTOBREATHE reinvest themselves in a childhood feeling that makes for their boldest, brightest, and biggest body of work to date.
“In order to be a child again, some things have to go away,” Bear leaves off. “However, you find new beauty and love. I know we did.”
“It feels like a second chance,” Josh concludes. “We’ve been given so much. We’ve been on the road more than we’ve been home. We’ve worked our fingers to the bone. We’re continually filled back up and inspired by stories, friends, and family who love us through this thing. Even after all this time, we still get to do this. Hopefully, we can shed a little light into the world and have an absolute blast.”