NeedToBreathe has a problem with preconceived notions.
The band is a brothers act from the Carolinas known to favour the banjo — but they’re not The Avett Brothers.
Bear and Bo Rinehart are the sons of a preacher who started playing music in church. But they’re not The Kings of Leon.
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The release of their fourth album, The Reckoning, should clear things up.
The album debuted at No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard 200 this week with 48,500 copies sold and is something of a mission statement for a group looking to make its mark on the wider consciousness.
They love Southern rock and want to be identified that way. They’ve been conscious of putting their own stamp on their latest album.
“We’ve always hated being pigeonholed in some way,” Bear, 30, said.
“Mainly because we’re worried about the future. We don’t want to put a record out where people are expecting a certain thing, they get something else and they’re not willing to go with us on the journey. That’s the thing for us, trying to develop fans who believe in the band rather than the one song or the genre.”
Comparisons weigh on the band and it was among the things foremost on their minds when they entered the studio. They considered every note, every instrument and every lyric as they crafted the 14 songs.
They put a great deal of pressure on themselves, hoping to make their own version of a classic album — something like Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.
Those kind of expectations led to long hours in the studio and very familiar bickering.
“We still fight a tremendous amount, I would say,” Bear said. “We were fighting just before we came in here,” the 29-year-old Bo joked.
“You’re working with family — especially with me and Bo writing the songs. So it’s an artistic thing and I think you’d get into an argument with anybody. But then you bring in the whole background of the family thing and all this history.”
That history starts in Possum Kingdom, S.C.
By the age of 12 they were playing rock ‘n’ roll-in their father’s Assembly of God church, where they learned about amps and effects pedals.
“And it was cool,” Bo said. “I say this a lot: You see a lot of bands that grow up in church or their dad’s a preacher. It’s not like you can play in a club when you’re 12. Where else can you play music?”
They quickly began writing their own songs and eventually enlisted longtime friends Seth Bolt, 27, on bass and drummer John Stillwell, 31.
Currently, they’re in the midst of a six-month tour opening for Taylor Swift.