Words cannot adequately express the sheer delight, my internal state of jumping up and down or my giddiness about seeing NEEDTOBREATHE in concert, for the second time, tomorrow night at the Palladium in downtown Dallas!!!

There’s so much to love about the kind of music this band produces.

1) The depth behind the seemingly light-hearted lyrics

2) Their energy onstage – their passion for their music, style and fans is evident – they can’t help but evoke passionate fans

3) Their antics and energy never wain throughout the performance – in fact, it becomes even more wild towards song 10

4) The history behind each song and their beginnings/journey as a band

5) The fact that their fans sing along loudly – it’s awesome

They are absolutely and must-see act to put on your bucket list. This is coming from a girl who doesn’t typically enjoy concerts or have money to throw at them. Worth every penny. I’ve been waiting in eager anticipation of this moment since I saw them in concert last year. Can I just add here how excited I am that my boyfriend is coming to this concert with me? It makes this THAT much more awesome!

I even printed off and took a photo of the tickets at work:

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Tickets for Chris and I!!

Here’s an excerpt I pulled from Palladium’s site on them (my favorite parts are in bold):

“We wanted to make an important record in the way that people used to make records. Bands rarely have the time that allows them to create a game-changing album like Born to Run, Rumours, or Damn The Torpedoes. So we said, ‘Let’s set ourselves up to do that. Let’s believe in the songs enough that we’re willing to take the time they need and really push ourselves. It may sound nave, but we still have a dream that we’re going to make a record that’s going to change everything for us.”

When NEEDTOBREATHE’s Bear and Bo Rinehart set out to write the songs that appear on the band’s new album, The Reckoning, they felt something bigger awaited them. It wasn’t just commercial success either. The band’s last album The Outsiders hit No. 9 on Billboard’s Rock Albums chart, went Top 20 on the Top 200, saw the band sell out venues such as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Chicago’s House of Blues, and score an impressive number of placements in blockbuster films and numerous prime time television-shows. Bear explains “There was always this creeping reminder that we needed to show what the last ten years on the road had taught us. If we couldn’t do that, everything we had worked for was meaningless.”

With their reputation as a must-see live act built from non-stop touring, the Rinehart brothers, pastor’s sons who hail from the rural South Carolina town of Possum Kingdom, along with drummer Joe Stillwell and bass player Seth Bolt, were determined to create a statement-making album that truly captured the magic behind this genuinely appealing rock band.

“We considered every note, every sound, and every lyric that went on this album,” Bo says of their fourth album The Reckoning, which was co-produced by the band with Rick Beato (who worked with the band on their records The Heat and The Outsiders), and was recorded over seven months mostly at their Plantation Studios in Charleston, SC. “Everything was put through the ‘Do we really believe in this or not,’ filter. We never settled. We were looking for a spark. Sometimes in the studio you’ve got to keep searching until something happens that feels magical. We were waiting for that moment to strike on each song before we called this album finished.” Bear adds, “At one point, we had done 10 different versions of the same song, but that process is what the record came to be about. We felt like no one could take this moment from us. I think you can feel the pressure we put on ourselves in every note of this record. The songs and the album became something much bigger than us … something we had to live up to.”

Lyrically, all roads lead from the album’s title, which Bear says has several different meanings, one of them being the justification of accounts. “I like the idea that you put in all this work and at some point it comes to a peak — that’s the reckoning time.”

What the band emerged with is a timeless-sounding album rooted in classic American rock and roll, unafraid to veer off into unexpected directions. Songs such as “Maybe They’re On To Us” address the paranoia of wondering whether people know too much about the band. “It also asks, ‘Are we still driven in the same way?’ We’re always questioning ourselves,” Bear says. Even the songs that may sound light-hearted on the surface, like “White Fences,” “Slumber,” and “Drive All Night,” explore serious themes. “‘White Fences’ is about the American dream of growing up in a big house with a white picket fence, but when the dream is broken and things don’t pan out the way you planned, asking who’s going to fix it,” Bo says. “‘Slumber’ is meant to be about how beauty is all around you but you just can’t see it because of the funk you’re in,” Bear says. “It speaks to something that we really care about which is giving yourself a chance.” And there’s “Drive All Night,” a galloping barnstormer that Bear sees as a statement on the false idea that one can run away from one’s problems. “The truth is, the more you run away, the worse it gets, whereas if you embrace the things around you, the more joy you’re going to have,” he says.

With their intriguing melodies and bright choruses, the songs on The Reckoning are certain to translate in the live setting, something that is crucial to the band. “The worst thing that could happen is you get done playing and people don’t think about you again. We’ll do whatever it takes to force people to make a decision about our band, whether they love us or not. It makes for more passionate fans.”

“We’ve always bought into the fact that anything worth having is going to cost you a lot, so I think we were prepared to lose everything. The Reckoning is our investigation into everything we believed to be true and a justification for everything we still do.”


The Reckoning

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

My thoughts and emotions have been extremely loud lately. It’s hard for me to quiet them enough to think straight to write this post. Ah, that’s why I love my 4-mile runs on the KT (Katy Trail). I get my thoughts and heart mostly unsnarled and back in focus.

To be honest, I started out my run tonight feeling very fretful. Fret and self-doubt have been trying to devour me the past few weeks. There are times I’ve felt beaten down to the ground – both at work and in my spiritual living. I feel bloodied, dragging myself onward with an unawareness of where I’m going – living, because I must. Perhaps to look at me, you’d never know. But I that’s the case with a lot of people, but we’ve been taught to conceal pain well. Ah, but not only to conceal it – to smother it and have not been taught to attack and address it with the right heart and perspective. You don’t have to look hard to find pain. I am always so moved by the lyrics in the song, “A Place Only You Can Go,” by NEEDTOBREATHE:

Pain is alive in a broken heart. The past never does go away. We were born to love and we’re born to pay the price for our mistakes. Grace, she comes with a heavy load. Memories, they can’t be erased. Like a pill I swallow, he makes me well. But leaves an awful taste.

Tonight, on my run, I re-realized about myself three things: 1) Worst things are happening to people all around me and my situation can always be worse (such a “Pollyanna” moment, I know), 2) I’m the greatest enemy to my joy and 3) God withholds nothing good from me.

God withholds NOTHING good from me. WHAM. As that thought and truth came to my mind towards the end of my run, it nearly stopped me dead in my tracks with the weighty yet lightness of it. Why then am I fretful? Why then am I anxious? Why then am I acting like a whiny 5-year-old who needs a nap (well sleep probably would help me)? The Lord delights in me and I’m fighting against Him and His love – His desire for GOOD for me. I threw back my head at the glory of it, of Him — and repented of my stupid pride, my desire for wanting my cheap version of good and glory for myself. My dad once told me a truth I’ll never forget: “Rachel, God has a good plan for you because He is a good God.” He is incapable of evil. (James 1:13)

To rewind a bit, in the middle of my run tonight, listening to and getting lost in the lyrics of the NEEDTOBREATHE album “The Reckoning,” (why yes, I’m on a NEEDTOBREATHE binge right now – moving on) I thought about how much I love the constants in my life and was praising the Lord for them. Then I stopped myself — if God gives me the constants, surely He gives me the inconstants (the painful, inconvenient and good ones) as well. Each are there for a reason. For instance, the inconstants cause me to appreciate so much more the constants – and the constants are a place of rest, refreshment and comfort. BUT the inconstants are there to grow me, cause me to see more of my heart, to wrestle. So, instead of despising them, I praised the Lord for them. I can’t but help think of the line from The Princess Bride, when Westley tells Buttercup, “Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone telling you differently is selling something.” But pain is what the Lord uses to MAKE us. I can list numerous examples of it. Perhaps you’d like to share with me the instances you see it manifested throughout Scripture and even in your own life. Twould be great comfort food for your soul to think on those things, as Philippians 4:8-9 tells us: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things….practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”

So, I started out my run fretful. Ended my run hopeful. “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).


Rachel B. Duke