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Rivers In The Wasteland

4.8 out of 5 stars 345 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Rivers In The Wasteland is the follow up to their acclaimed album The Reckoning, which saw the band spend over two years on the road in support of a collection of anthemic rock that caught the attention of The New York Times, NPR, Entertainment Weekly and USA Today.

"We've come through some rough moments and some amazing moments," says guitarist & vocalist Bo Rinehart. "We're the most energized we've ever been. The band is young again. We've got a new sense of purpose and we believe in what we're doing. We just fell back in love with the idea of what we get to do."

Rivers In The Wasteland - the sound of a band excited to reconnect with the idea of a fresh start, and featuring "Difference Maker," "Multiplied," "The Heart," and "Brother" - was co-produced by the band with the help of various producers including Joe Chiccarelli, Kevin Augunas, Ed Cash and Jerrod Bettis, and was recorded at the band's own Plantation Studios in Charleston, Fairfax Recordings (formally Sound City Studios) in Los Angeles and Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • ASIN: B00HVIOU64
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've been following Needtobreathe since their debut in 2006 and a fan since The Heat. Over the past 8 years they have continually produced exemplary music that is both catchy and thought provoking. On top of that they have the ability to do this in varying styles. Excellence and versatility in music is often a difficult feat for many bands to accomplish, but Needtobreathe pull off both effortlessly.

Needtobreathe recently put out a documentary that gave an honest look at the band as they went through dramatic internal struggles. Within that turmoil, they lost their drummer, Joe Stillwell. This is the context in which "Rivers in the Wasteland" was born. Needtobreathe has always been honest in their lyrics, but this is definitely the most vulnerable we've seen them. The lyrics are raw, hurting, questioning, soul-searching, joyful, and surprisingly more faith oriented than any previous NTB record. To add to the vulnerability, 90% of the album was recorded from live takes. Though the sound is raw it also feels smooth, clean, and fresh. The musical styles covered on this album include classic rock, americana, folk-pop, and a simple acoustic sound. They flawlessly combine these genres from track to track and sometimes even within the same song.

The opening track, Wasteland, starts things off in a slow and chilling fashion. The first three minutes takes a completely stripped down approach; all we have here is a soft acoustic guitar, Bear's voice, and a few piano notes. Around the three minute mark, the song erupts with an absolutely epic drum and some soaring vocals that lasts all of 40 seconds before quieting again.
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Format: MP3 Music
NEEDTOBREATHE has very quickly become one of my all-time favorite bands because of how they are able to move me with such amazing and spiritual lyrics that truly reflect how I feel as a Christian. This album is all about the restoration of the band when their drummer Joe Stillwell quit, a response to the overwhelming tension brought on by touring and being thrust into the limelight with his fellow South Carolina natives and lifelong friends, Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart and Seth Bolt.

Their story is chronicled in the documentary film, Prove the Poets Wrong, drawn from the lyrics of their song "Drive All Night." NEEDTOBREATHE is getting back to their roots with Rivers in the Wasteland, based on Isaiah 43:19 (NLT): "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Listening to "Wasteland" to open the 11-song collection, it's clear that the themes of relying on God's grace and mercy and seeking and speaking truth flows throughout this excellent album, highlighted by several of my new favorite songs, "Wasteland," "Difference Maker," "Rise Again" "The Heart," and "Multiplied." You'll be hooked right from the opening notes of "Wasteland," which really sets the tone for this album. As Christians, we can all relate to the vulnerable and sincere crying out: "In this wasteland where I'm livin', there's a crack in the door and it's filled with light, and it's all that I need to get by." That prayerful sentiment is punctuated in the chorus: "Oh if God, is on my side, Who could be against me?
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It would be so easy for this band to just settle in and give people what's expected. But they continually stretch and try to keep things fresh and interesting. I met them on a sidewalk a few years back, right after they played an acoustic set in a little martini bar in Michigan. I didn't want to bother them, but I did thank them for writing such great songs. I thanked them because it takes talent and effort and dedication, all of which are evident on this recording. Some of the songs are instantly likeable. Others may take a few run throughs. And some of them are deceptively complex, both musically and lyrically. The song "Difference Maker" is a prime example of this. Seeing how different people are interpreting the song is fascinating because it can be taken in vastly different ways. Is it an anthem to be embraced personally, or is it a criticism of those who think they have all the answers? I think I know, but you can decide for yourself. I'll be seeing them live in a few months. Plenty of time to get the songs memorized so I can sing along. Great stuff.
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I was excited to hear that there was going to be a new album released by NEEDTOBREATHE because I am a big fan of their previous releases. Unfortunately this one did not live up to my expectations... I purposely took my time and did not review this right away in hopes that after I listened to the album multiple times I would grow to enjoy it the way that I have with their other ones. I never got to that point. I believe the problem is with the lyrics. They just do not seem as deep and well thought out as their previous songs. In order for me to enjoy a song I need both the music and the lyrics to be strong. To me, these are sub-par at best.

Music preference is different for everyone though and this is only my opinion. I will still continue to follow them and look forward to new releases but this album will not be on any of my playlists.....
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