NEEDTOBREATHE Dishes On New Album ‘CAVES’ and Collaborations with Carly Pearce and Old Dominion
“Maybe we’re more country than we are pop,” Bear Rinehart, frontman of the multi-platinum band, shared.
NEEDTOBREATHE; Photo Provided
With nearly two decades in the music industry, NEEDTOBREATHE does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Big things are on the horizon for bandmates Bear Rinehart, Seth Bolt, Josh Lovelace, Randall Harris and Tyler Burkum, starting with the release of a new album.
The GRAMMY-nominated band released their ninth studio project, CAVES, on September 15th. Heading into the release, the multi-platinum group had a much different frame of mind and were determined to prove that they still had more to offer. The band does exactly that on their highly-anticipated project.
The 11-track album is nothing short of spectacular, featuring support from stars like Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Judah & The Lion, and Foy Vance, and Country Now got all of the behind-the-scenes details on CAVES in an exclusive interview with the band.
CAVES was written in two different phases after the pandemic, first during a getaway in Utah, and second during their tour with OneRepublic. Josh Lovelace revealed that the critically acclaimed band “spent about a year and a half making this record,” and this time commitment undoubtedly shines through within CAVES.
“I think if you’ve been a fan of our band for a long time, there’s a lot for you,” he continued with a smile. “I think it’s kind of like a playlist in some ways. It’s like all kinds of different vibes and moods that you’ve come to know from NEEDTOBREATHE, but then if you’re a new fan or if you’re, you know, just curious, I think there’s some fresh stuff that you’ve never heard us do before, which is really fun… We had a good time making it.”
NEEDTOBREATHE’s frontman, Bear Rinehart, then proceeded to share some of the details about the creation of CAVES as a whole.
“In terms of the recording, you know, we always think it’s the same way,” he dished. “The band gets in a room, and we all just start breaking the song down and talking about what it means to us, and then how are we gonna deliver that, you know, in the end… It’s a longer process, so I think that’s similar, you know, with all the records we’ve ever made.”
The talented singer-songwriter continued passionately, “We felt like they’re songs we’re gonna be playing for a long time, and let’s show some reverence to them, and let’s go old school on it… let’s track it one way, let’s slow it down, let’s try this, let’s try that, you know, and just explore the song and try to get the emotion to go with the songs as much as possible, and so I’m really proud of that when I listen to it.”
“It’s a very uncool record in that way, but whatever, it’s cool right now,” he concluded.
“Cool is the new uncool,” Josh chimed in, garnering a laugh from the five-piece group.
Something that differentiates CAVES from NEEDTOBREATHE’s other eight studio albums is the strong country influence this time around, with Old Dominion making an appearance on “Wasting Time” and Carly Pearce making an appearance on “Fall On Me,” two of the album’s most notable tracks.
“Honestly, the fact that they were country didn’t really enter the picture a huge amount, like it was just artists that we liked,” Bear mentioned regarding the band’s respective collaborations with the country superstars, prior to revealing how exactly these duets came to be.
“We did an Allman Brothers tribute thing in New York and met the Old Dominion guys, and they started telling us that they were fans of what we did, which we had no idea… We just realized how many similarities we had as bands and kind of the type of music we like, and so it made sense to have them on a song. It’s kind of like a live rock and roll song,” he shared with Country Now.
“It’s funny, because when [Old Dominion] came in to sing it, they were like, “Woah, this is country!’ We were like, ‘Well, we like country!’” the band reminisced, all while sharing a chuckle with one another.
As for the collaboration with Pearce, “It’s a beautiful song and we knew it needed a female voice on it, and we kind of listened for the texture of voices that we were looking for,” Bear prefaced. “She has a really soulful voice, and it’s like warm and inviting, so we reached out to her. That’s how that happened. We found out that she was a fan too, which also was a surprise to us… It just happened really naturally, I think.”
Both collaborations showcase NEEDTOBREATHE’s ability to seamlessly switch genres – is there anything these five musical maestros can’t do?
Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, the multi-platinum group plans to lean into their country side even more in the future.
“With the band being now based in Nashville, I think we’ve met a lot of, you know, people in the country industry and made a lot of friends with them,” Josh explained. “We really do have a lot of similarities in the way we do our business and the way we tour and everything. I mean, it’s very similar in some ways, so I wouldn’t say that we’re a country band, but I do think that we’re in the same world.”
“If it was Zac Brown and NEEDTOBREATHE on the same bill, it wouldn’t be weird, you know, which I think is cool, so us being able to do that kind of on the record, which we’ve never really done that (other than the song we did with Carrie Underwood, on last record). It is kind of fun for us to kind of stretch out and try new things and try to reach new audiences,” Josh continued with a grin.
“I think for us, you know, we said something a couple years ago, we realized like, I think we’d rather play Stagecoach than Coachella, so maybe we’re more country than we are pop,” Bear pointed out.
Could he be teasing some plans that the band has in store for the future? Only time will tell…
Regardless of whether fans consider CAVES to be rock and roll, country, pop, or anything in between, the goal of the project is the same: “We’re hoping that [listeners] are inspired by it and that they live their lives to it.”
“Our career has been made on songs like that. Songs that people play at their funerals and also their weddings… We’re always surprised by what those are,” Bear shared. “I think the audience really gets to dictate that, which is sort of what we’re trying to do with our records. Just leave it open, and the last thing we wanna do is try to teach people things on the record. We approach it pretty simply [and] innocently. It’s like, we’re eight-year-olds at heart just like you are. We’re gonna talk about our feelings that we’re seeing and going through, and hopefully that resonates.”
On the heels of releasing their ninth studio album, NEEDTOBREATHE is eternally grateful for their time in the music industry as a whole, and the group is even returning to the early stages of being a band with CAVES.
“When I look back at it, the wonder is the same. I think that’s probably the one thing that maybe we’ve gotten back in this band in a way… We love the stuff we get to make, and when you’re in the room making it, we literally think like we’re the biggest band in the world, because it doesn’t matter what happens after that,” Bear gushed.
“People, you know, they still ask like, ‘How do you know when you made it?’ I used to be like, ‘I don’t think we have made it,’ but the truth is, we have,” the 43-year-old continued passionately. “The goal in the beginning for me was just like creative freedom. Can we spend the time we want to spend on making a record? Can we dream up a show and be able to pull it off? We are in that place where we get to like, you know, we just go crazy on what we wanna do, even if it doesn’t make financial sense or whatever it is. Like, we get to be artists in that way.”
“Once we have a hot tub in the back lounge, that’s it.” Tyler Burkum joked, sharing the one and only thing that the band still dreams of accomplishing.
CAVES is available on all streaming platforms now.
Melanie has been writing for Country Now since August of 2023. Originally from Southern California and currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, she graduated from Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in 2023 with a BA in Journalism. During her free time, she loves going to concerts and music festivals, binging her favorite TV shows, spending time with her friends and family and cheering on the Oklahoma Sooners (of course).