William Stanley "Bear" Rinehart III was named after University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant. While attending Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, William proved to be a standout wide receiver for the football team, winning the 2002 Banks McFadden trophy for South Carolina football player of the year. Meanwhile, he and his brother, Nathaniel Bryant "Bo" Rinehart, who were raised in their father's church in Possum Kingdom, South Carolina, and later moved to Seneca, formed a band and started performing concerts at the school. After graduation, football faded and music became their joint passion. As Needtobreathe, the brother guitarists, drummer Joe Stillwell and bassist Seth Bolt released independent albums recorded in Bolt's studio. Needtobreathe gained a Christian audience. The growing popularity nearly fell apart a year ago, however, due to the pressures of promoting the band. When Needtobreathe performed at the Bowery Ballroom a year ago, Stillwell was leaving the band and the two brothers needed separate dressing rooms in order to remain civil. Since then, healing took place and the band chronicled this experience in its fifth album, Rivers in the Wasteland, released on April 15, 2014.
Needtobreathe closed its Rivers in the Wasteland tour at the Best Buy Theater tonight on a stage that was given a western motif, including three teepees, but also was emblazoned with many blinding LED back lights. The three members of Needtobreathe were backed by touring members Josh Lovelace on keyboards and Randall Harris on drums. Bear sang appealingly in a husky, earthy voice, often while strumming his guitar, while Bo played fluid lead guitar snatches that lit the band's Americana-styled songs on fire. Personable and vulnerable, Bear introduced one of the last songs, "Brother," performed acoustically, as the peacemaking moment after a bitter period of silence when he and Bo agreed that being brothers was more important than leading a successful band. Another highlight was when Needtobreathe invited onstage the opening band, the Oh Hellos, and together sang " Place Only You Can Go" and a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me." Needtobreathe is on its way to becoming a mammoth band.
Visit Needtobreathe at www.needtobreathe.com.