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NeedToBreathe: The Outsiders

by Greg Mashinter

NeedToBreathe released its third album, The Outsiders, in 2009. Innovative and catchy without being hollow, The Outsiders captures the essence of a new alternative rock sound fused with old-time folk.

Continuing the quality demonstrated in their earlier albums, Daylight (2006) and The Heat (2007), NeedToBreathe band members Bear Rinehart—a sound-alike to Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill—Seth Bolt, Joe Stillwell, and Bo Rinehart offer solid lead vocals, bass, drums, and lead guitar, respectively. With melodies ranging from edgy to mellow, the guys throw in other instruments—banjo, harmonica, and mandolin—to give the songs a little extra pop!

In addition to musical excellence, The Outsiders features lyrics that reveal the band’s spiritual awareness. The message would be inspirational not only to a Christian listener, but also to someone who has no knowledge of God. Themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, and hope are a continued anthem throughout. The album’s first single, “Lay ’em down,” which peaked at number four on the Hot Christian Songs chart, echoes the invitation extended by Jesus in Matthew 11:28: “If you’re lost and lonely / Broken down / Bring all of your troubles / Come lay ’em down.’’ These words point to a source of comfort for all hurting people in this world. Even if just for a few minutes, these songs can help calm a restless mind.

The Outsiders is perfect to listen to on the way to work or school, or at the end of the day if you’re looking to unwind. I wouldn’t call this album a “pump-up” album, but it’s an easy listen with a little edge to it. With its absolute musical and spiritual integrity, The Outsiders gets a thumbs-up in my book. And my guess is that with their upcoming gigs opening for Taylor Swift on her Speak Now tour, NeedToBreathe probably won’t feel like “outsiders” for long.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2011 issue of In Part magazine.
Greg Mashinter

Greg Mashinter, an aspiring singer-songwriter, grew up in the Wainfleet (ON) BIC Church, where he was a part of the worship team, and has been a member of several bands. He is currently living in L’Arche Ottawa, a bilingual community for people with physical and mental disabilities.

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