Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In:Focus- Needtobreathe

Possum City, South Carolina. That should give you some insight into Needtobreathe, a four-piece band that has made a large splash in the Christian music scene since their arrival in 2006. If you're thinking southern, small town, and maybe mandolin....well, you're on the right track. Bear and Bo Rinehart grew up in Possum City, S.C., their father an Assembly of God pastor, and their mother a pianist who first got the boys interested in music. From piano, they moved on to guitar and in 1999, the brothers began touring, and later, along with friends Joe Stillwell and Seth Bolt, formed Needtobreathe and began selling self-produced EPs.

Their first major-label album, Daylight, came out in 2006 and featured the single "You are here." CCM magazine put the band on the cover of their magazine and the band hit the road on a relentless tour, stopping rarely, and only then to record new music. In 2007 the band followed up their debut album with the sophomore release The Heat and things really took off from there. The band was nominated for several GMA awards, including "Rock/contemporary album of the year." While they didn't win this award, they won many fans. Most recently, the band released their third studio album entitled The Outsiders.

What sets aside Needtobreathe from all other Christian musicians, would have to be their roots. You don't have to know that Bear Rinehart is from the south: all you have to do is hear him talk. He has a voice that just drips southern charm (their unreleased song "sweet talker" is a prime example of this charm), yet don't let the charm deceive you. He's got a hint of a growl on certain tracks that puts this band up a notch on other southern rockers. And great vocals must run in the family, because little brother Bo compliments his brother's voice like gravy does for fried okra (ok, so maybe if you're from the north you may not appreciate that, but hey, some things are just undeniable...).

What stands out most about Needtobreathe though is not their music, not their southern accents, but their faith. Each and every song is lyrically rich, and while the band doesn't label themselves a "Christian band", their faith is evident in the lyrics they write. The songs they sing are about the things they go through in their own lives, and all are based upon the bedrock of their faith in Christ.

As far as longevity goes, Needtobreathe may have only just begun, but that's a good thing: that implies there's much more to come!

Back in the saddle: The return of Jennifer Knapp

After five years of not so much as a posting on her blog, let alone a concert, press release or even a youtube video, Jennifer Knapp is back! Just a few weeks ago, Knapp played at a small, trendy bar in the heart of Hollywood to a sold out crowd: no surprise as Knapp's sudden departure from the music scene in 2004 came as a shock to all fans. Knapp, who has sold nearly 1 million albums, last released new music in 2001 (The Way I Am), is apparently set to release new music in early 2010, according to her newly revamped blog. Jennifer Knapp's concert in California will be followed up by another performance on October 28 alongside Phillip LaRue in New York, again at a small venue, as well as a November 10 concert slated in Tennesssee.

Not much is known about what Jennifer did in her 5-year hiatus. However, an article written on Christianty Today's website gives some clues from the concert that she performed, and also gives a taste of what five years has done to the folk-rock singer that we all have truly missed. Welcome back Jennifer!