Release Date: March 24th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Wasteland (Live From The Woods) – Needtobreathe
- When We Come Alive – Switchfoot
- When I’m With You – Ben Rector
- Shine Like Lightning – Drew Holcomb And The Neighbors
- Keep On Keeping On – Colony House
- Wanted Man (Live From The Woods) – Needtobreathe
Often branching out and recording songs specific to the mainstream media, pop/rock trio Needtobreathe, comprising of brothers Bear, and Bo, and good friend Seth have wowed us again and again with their honest lyrics, catchy music and southern rock goodness. Providing us with plenty of inspiring and thought provoking messages to ponder over as well; in their last album Rivers In The Wasteland alone, there were plenty of songs that stuck out to me, such as “Wasteland”, “Multiplied”, “The Heart” and “Difference Maker”.
Personally, I think that the trio deserve their many Dove Award and Grammy Award nominations and wins, and maybe some more- and it’s only fitting that just under a month away from the band’s first live album, that they release a compilation EP comprising of songs from artists embarking on their latest tour. The Tour De Compadres starts in late April, and you can read the press release here! Featuring Needtobreathe as the headliners and Switchfoot, Colony House, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, and Ben Rector as supporting acts, this tour is not to be missed! With this short but sweet EP highlighting just a snapshot of what we could expect on the tour, let’s dive in, and see how this EP stacks up to other EP’s in 2015, and how it makes me excited for Needtobreathe’s live CD/DVD releasing soon!
Though Needtobreathe has provided us with 2 songs out of the 6, let’s quickly gloss over the other 4 from the supporting acts. Switchfoot offers up the cheerful and joyous anthemic epic like melody “When We Come Alive”, which brings a smile to my face, and reminds me of the light that we all have with Jesus in our lives, and what we can emit to others as we show them the unending love of God in our lives through glorifying Him in everything that we do. Arranged beautifully, and a brilliant way of describing Jesus in us, it’s the explosive chorus and moving heartfelt vocals from Jon that gets me excited, as well as the gang vocals. I’d imagine that it would be a joy to experience live. The music video of the track which released a while ago, as well as the profound lyrics in the bridge ‘…we are our souls on fire, we are reaching higher, we are our souls on fire, when we come alive…’ depicting our need for meaning and purpose in our lives, are powerful and impacting as well.
Singer/songwriter Ben Rector is one such artist I hadn’t heard before until today, and the song “When I’m With You” blew me away. Similar in musical genre to Needtobreathe’s melodies, the electric guitar mid tempo anthem and Ben’s captivating voice fits nicely with the lyrics and subject matter of being with someone who keeps us grounded, and where ‘…I know who I am and who I want to be…’– the fact that Ben keeps the song pretty vague and ambiguous reminds us that the song could be directed at God or at a friend, and in that way, people from all walks of life can be ministered to. The other two songs are “Shine Like Lightning” by Drew Holcomb (reminding me of John Ellis from Tree63 and Brenton Brown vocally), a folksy, bluesy mid-tempo guitar led melody inspiring us to shine for Christ and be who we were made to be, all the time so that the world can see Jesus in us; and “Keep On Keeping On”, by Colony House, a guitar led rock tune just over 3 minutes, where Will Chapman inspires us and reassures us that ‘…when hope has sailed away, glory’s made its grave, keep on keeping on, when the devil’s arm seems strong, brother, keep on keeping on…’, that we must look ahead to the eternal prize instead of worrying about transient, temporary things here on earth. Yet it is the EP opener and closer (both tracks from Needtobreathe) that alone are worth the EP download, and have me excited for April 14th!
Wearing their heart on their sleeve, Needtobreathe unveil “Wasteland” and “Wanted Man”. While both live versions are unashamed, unibhibited, and raw emotionally, both melodies sooth my soul and are as close to the original version as you can get. “Wasteland” is a moving, rousing guitar led ballad turned epic anthem, where Bear ardently reminds us that God is on our side, and that no one can be against us, even as we are walking through our literal and metaphorical wastelands. With a three minute spontaneous ‘free worship’ style ending attached to the song, the EP opener packs a punch that makes me proud of Needtobreathe’s overtness of their faith even in their concerts! “Wanted Man”, the EP ender, stands tall at nearly 8 minutes, and is a relationship song driven by acoustic guitar, as Bear and co. sing about how they are men who are spoken for- in a relationship with their loved ones. Their openness to talk about their relationships in this song is bold and courageous, and should inspire us to be more frank and honest about the goings-on and personal events occurring in our lives. Well done Needtobreathe for this intriguing and motivational EP, with two of your most popular songs and four songs from your friends!
Just a few weeks ago, Needtobreathe collaborated with Gavin DeGraw for a compelling and fascinating music video for “Brother”, and it was this video that made me realise that this band is something special, that God has placed a calling on their hearts, and they are running with it, with no regrets, which is admirable and inspiring. With the message of the EP being that we can rely on God in any circumstance; should you download the EP from Noisetrade while you wait until the live album releases? Most certainly, you will definitely find a song or two that you will love! Well done Bear, Bo and Seth; I will definitely recommend your music to many of my friends and acquaintances! 2 and a half more weeks left til the new album! I can’t wait!
3 songs to listen to: Wasteland, When We Come Alive, Keep On Keeping On
RIYL: Ellie Holcomb, All Sons And Daughters, Lifehouse, Skillet, Steven Curtis Chapman