Before Bear Rinehart co-founded NEEDTOBREATHE and became a platinum-selling rock musician, he was inspired to pick up guitar from one of the great Southern rock bands of the last few decades: the Black Crowes. The son of a Christian pastor, Reinhart grew up around gospel music. The Black Crowes had a classy voice – with swagger – that made sense to him. “It’s such a gospel-soul-rock and roll grid,” he told Billboard’s Behind the Setlist podcast.
Reinhart lives outside of Nashville—mid-country, Americana and Christian music labels in the US—but he grew up in South Carolina, not far from the Black Crews’ home in Atlanta. Reinhart was surrounded by a “well-trained and very talented” church band with “all kinds of cool equipment,” he recalled. Catch the music of great soul singers like Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding, too. And growing up in the South surrounded him with bluegrass and mountain music, where the banjo and mandolin are standard instruments.
A young man spent listening to blues roots and high church music comes from Reinhart’s second solo album, Fever / Heavenwas released on March 24 by Dualtone Records under the name Wilder Woods. It is not called depression Fever / Heaven “Party in a Bottle, an ode to the sweaty intensity of old rock and roll.” across 11 tracks, Fever / Heaven It also captures the elevated emotions that drew listeners to NEEDTOBREATHE.
“I always felt like you were trying to sing songs that you could count on, you know what I mean?” says Reinhart. “I feel like that’s the source of gospel. It’s almost like the thing you need to survive. And I think as I got older and got into a lot of different styles of music, I would say, maybe that’s the theme that I still feel important to. The music I listen to You meet me mostly at that place where you need to meet me.”
Wilder Woods opens for the Avett Brothers July 8 at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, and will perform at the Moon River Music Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on September 10. The series of dates begins on August 11th in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and ends at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas, on September 8th.
Listen to the full Behind the Setlist interview with Rinehart on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeart, Amazon Music, or Audible.