Bo Rinehart: "Sometimes our best songs come from writing the music first and then having the lyrics just come to us."
“We’re from a small town in South Carolina called Possum Kingdom,” NEEDTOBREATHE frontman Bear Rinehart explains when asked about the place he and his younger brother/co-writer Bo were raised. “Trust me, there was absolutely no music scene there.” The sons of an Assembly of God pastor, Bear and Bo Rinehart had inherited their father’s gift with words, and put it to good use in their songwriting. Their mother taught piano as well, so making music was a constant part of their young lives. Formed in 1999, NEEDTOBREATHE also consists of Joe Stillwell and Seth Bolt.
On their latest album, The Outsiders,
NEEDTOBREATHE has truly come into their own, seamlessly blending ambient, arena-ready soundscapes with a decidedly Southern sensibility. "The ‘Southern thing’ is very scary to some people," Bear laughs. "But for us, it’s not so much a sound than a feeling. It’s just about having some soul in the words you write, the music that you play. And it’s something that just comes naturally to us.”"
I got the great opportunity to interview Bo Rinehart about the band's first single from the new album, "Lay 'Em Down." You can listen to our entire conversation here.
Please tell me the story behind writing the song “Lay ‘Em Down”?
I wrote the song on the road. I had the riff written first and one day the band was frustrated with another song, and even though we had no lyrics, we started working on playing “Lay ‘Em Down” together. Sometimes our best songs come from writing the music first and then having the lyrics just come to us. Once we started working on it together, we came up with the words in about 5 minutes.
What’s the main message of the song, especially the lyrics “All you rich men, And the high above, All those with And without love, All you burdened Broken down, Bring all of your troubles, Come lay 'em down”?
We are all inspired by Johnny Cash. As Christians, we know the song is about God, but everyone who hears the song can relate to the themes of having troubles and burdens and wanting to lay them down. Our favorite part of the song came out in the lyrics “we’re all dirty like corrupted small towns”.
All who are thirsty, All who are weak, Come to the fountain, Dip your heart in the stream of life, Let the pain and the sorrow, Be washed away, In the waves of his mercy, As deep cries out to deep, Come Lord Jesus come, Holy Spirit come, As deep cries out to deep
Come down to the river
Come and let yourself in
Make good on a promise
To never hurt again
If you're lost and lonely
You're Broken down
Bring all of your troubles come lay 'em down
All you sinners
And the weak at heart
All you helpless
On the boulevards
Wherever you are now
Whatever evil you've found
Bring all of your troubles
And come lay 'em down
We're all tied to the same old failings
Finding shelter in things we know
We're all dirty like corrupted small towns
We'll bring our troubles
We'll bring our troubles lay 'em down
All you rich men
And the high above
All those with And without love
All you burdened Broken down
Bring all of your troubles
Come lay 'em down
WOW! What a song and what a band! I had the great privilege to not only meet and interview Bo Rinehart about the song, but then I was treated to the greatest live show I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen NEEDTOBREATHE in concert, you need to check them out the next time they are in your area. They are truly an inspiring and talented band. As the song says, no matter if you are hurting, lost and lonely, burdened and broken down, you can bring all of your troubles and lay ‘em down before God. This song encourages me to have comfort in that Truth.
Posted October 26, 2009 | Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.