Artist Spotlight: NeedToBreathe

November 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Music Spotlight

By Anthony M. Corliss-Smith

Needtobreathe, a band based out of Seneca, South Carolina, are on their third album and they are starting to get people’s attention. Never before have I personally heard a Christian band so often played on secular radio stations. Bear Rinehart (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Bo Rinehart (backing vocals, guitar), Seth Bolt (backing vocals, bass), and Joe Stillwell (drums, percussion) must be doing something right.

Their Southern rock/blues style seems to defy definition, for each song seems to be different than the last and yet they all go together. Also, the honesty in the lyrics and music are unmistakable. You can definitely tell that they were all written by the same two guys, the Rinehart brothers.

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Artist Spotlight: VOTA

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Music Spotlight

VOTA, the band formerly known as Casting Pearls, has put out a new, self-titled CD.  It sounds like a love song to Jesus and makes you want to get up and dance.  Now if that’s not enough to like it, I don’t know what is.

Composed of Bryan Olesen (formerly of  Newsboys) on lead vocals and guitars, Case Maranville on bass and vocals, Scott Rutz on drums and vocals, and Riley Friesen on guitars and keys and vocals; they changed their name to VOTA when they kept getting confused with Casting Crowns.  And before you ask: VOTA doesn’t mean anything.  Bryan chose it because most Christian bands are expected to have “Christian” names.

The opening track, “Hard to Believe,” is one of the songs that make you want to dance, but it’s not just all pop and fluff.  With lyrics like “Lost in the dark /Till Your love dawned in my heart/You filled all the hollow/and You freed my pent-up soul” it makes you think about whether or not God has truly filled your life and affected your heart.  It makes you want the joy the singer has.

“Be Mine” may take a slower pace, but it definitely doesn’t let up on the meaning.  “How did I live life before /You took over my heart/Nothing in life I want more/To be in your arms.”  The chorus goes on to ask God to “Be mine for life.”  Never before has a song made me think about truly being in love with Christ more than this.

My personal favorite is “Love’s Taken Over.”  Leaning on God, starting over, and the power of Love in the life of the saint are reflected in lyrics like “I never wanna be alone again/Here’s my declaration of dependence/Without Your love I ain’t got a chance/Yeah Your love is life to me.”

I’ve listened to this CD about 20 times already, and I don’t think I’m about to stop.  Usually these kinds of lyrics are found in secular love songs.  It’s refreshing and encouraging to find believers singing love songs to Jesus.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather sing (and dance) along to.

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