Bear Rinehart Goes in a New Direction| Posted August 10, 2019
This is the first solo album from Bear Rinehart, a founding member and lead singer of NEEDTOBREATHE, one of my favorite bands. The album and band are both named after his two sons Wilder and Woods. Rinehart has said that there are two distinct sides to the album. The Wilder side, which comprises most of the album, is all about love, flirtation and desire, while the Woods side is more serious and reflective. The song “Religion” falls onto the Woods side, and will surely get much discussion as to its meaning.
Musically, the album is a blend of soul, R&B and pop and features his excellent vocals. The album was recorded in East Nashville with producer Gabe Simon.
Below are a few comments about each song. Light Shine In – The opening song was written by Rinehart, Simon and Austin Jenkins. It starts quietly with acoustic guitar, before keys are added. It then quickly builds powerfully with guitar and backing vocals. For twenty years (the length of time he was in NEEDTOBREATHE), he was completely blind to all of his fears. Sometimes he wishes he was lost, as there’s nothing worse than being found. His plea is for the children of broken men to let their light shine in. The song ends with the acoustic guitar that opened it. Sure Ain't – This song was produced by Simon and Josh Bruce Williams, and written by Rinehart, Williams and Andy Albert. It is a love song directed to his wife Mary. The song features electric guitar and drums. If she thinks she might kiss him, it sure wouldn’t break his heart. Someday Soon – This song was written by Rinehart. It features acoustic guitar, keys, strings, and backing vocals. Rinehart uses a higher range vocal, similar to Amos Lee for a part of the song. Someday soon these worries will roll on. He could use a reminder of what forgiveness is for. He encourages the person the song is directed to not to give up on the Kingdom, they’ll still be let in.
Key lyric: Don't think the battle's over just 'cause you say "Amen" Supply & Demand – This easy-going R&B flavored love song was written by Rinehart. It opens with keys and features drums, backing vocals and a memorable hook. Electric Woman – This love song was written by Rinehart. It features light percussion and light guitar at the beginning, picking up the beat on the chorus with a catchy drum beat, some higher range vocals and backing vocals. The electric woman is sending shocks through his body. He wants to be her electric man. He’s never been good at letting her go. Mary, You're Wrong – This R&B flavored love song to Rinehart’s wife was written by Rinehart and Simon. The song features keys, light percussion, guitar, organ, strings, and light backing vocals. She’s wrong if she’s thinking he would ever want to leave. Feel – This mid-tempo love song was written by Rinehart, Simon and Kevin Griffin. The song features keys, bass, backing vocals, drums, backing vocals and a guitar solo mid-song. He wants to know if he is bound for rejection or all of her affection. He’s not going to cut and run. He wants to know if she feels the way he feels. Hillside House – This mid-tempo love song was written by Rinehart and David Leonard. It features a good bass line, light guitar, drums, and backing vocals. It’s hard to think of their hillside house without her around. So, while they’re still young, and while they still can, he’s gonna wrap her up in his arms again. What Gives You The Right – This love song was written by Rinehart, Simon and Trent Dabbs. This song brings back some energy after a few slower songs, featuring guitar, drums, backing vocals and organ. What gives her the right to come and rescue him knowing that he would trust her, even if it meant his life.
Key lyric: I never planned for surrender But I'm a fool for your splendor Religion – This song was written by Rinehart and Simon. It features acoustic guitar and backing vocals. The song could be taken as Rinehart’s departure from the faith. We don’t know who he might be directing these lines to: You're a temptress, you're to blame For the guilt I can't displace
Though there's winters and summers
And so much has changed
You're the fortress for my shame
Rinehart grew up as a pastor’s son. He sings: I was born in the shadows of preachers and saints I was raised in a house of God
But the blood on my lips and the dirt on my face
Is all the religion I've got
Or he could be singing about a dead religion, not a true faith: She's a needy harlequin Built by greed and selfish men
Though it's easy to love her for all you discover
She's bound to fall again
“Religion” is a confusing song that will surely lead to much discussion about its meaning. It might refer to a dead faith, a rejection of religion, frustration with today's churches, venting about money and institutions and what they do to the Gospel, venting about the church's role in creating shame, etc.