After touring with Taylor Swift years ago, the South Carolina rock band brings its “Caves” world tour to Van Andel Arena on Tuesday. The Local Spins interview.
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Seth Bolt of NEEDTOBREATHE admits his pop-rock band learned a lot on the road with Taylor Swift.
“Touring with her was inspiring. It was the biggest production we’d ever seen,” recalled Bolt. “It was sort of a master class on touring and performing, and we got a front-row seat on how to tour on that level.”
NEEDTOBREATHE was a surprise selection to open for Swift on her 2011 arena tour, which featured a stop at Van Andel Arena. Band members have used the experience in crafting their own arena tour, which hits that same venue on Tuesday (Nov. 7).
Tickets — $29.95-$69.95 — for the 7 p.m. show are available at Tickemaster.com.
“We have lots of moving parts we’re putting together,” Bolt noted of the band led by singer-songwriter Bear Rinehart. “It’s certainly new territory for us, but we can’t wait for our fans to see it.”
Bolt was a childhood friend of brothers Bear and Bo Rineheart in rural South Carolina, sons of a pastor. “Their mom gave me piano lessons,” he recalled.
Adding other members along the way, they played music together for 20 years, even through periods of strained relationship between the brothers.
A break finally came when Bo left the band in spring of 2020, just as the pandemic hit. Suddenly the future was unknown.
“We wanted to make it work, and did everything we could, but it was, like… it wasn’t meant to be,” Bolt said of the brothers’ going separate ways. “Then everyone was under the weight of this massive force (COVID), that none of us could control. It was an existential situation for the band.”
They had some songs ready for an album that autumn (“Out of Body”), but that same season the players held up in an old house for a three-week, live-in writing and recording session from which came their 2021 release, “Into the Mystery.”
Guitarist Tyler Burkum stepped in to replace Bo and they were back to a quintet. (Bo Rinehart has since released new music under the moniker “Coy Roy”).
“This band has always been marked by a spirit of determination that really stems from Bear,” Bolt added. “His talent and the way he leads….this guy was not gonna quit and I wanted to be on his team.”
NEW MUSIC: TOURING BEHIND ‘CAVES’
That continued spirit led to “Caves,” their brand new album upon which the new tour is based. This time the band spent a full two years on the writing and recording process, wanting do the best version of each song they could.
“We decided to leave no stone unturned flexing the new capabilities the band has,” Bolt said.
It’s a collection still infused with their southern rock heritage, as displayed on the title track. But there are also several inspirational ballads, such as “Fall on Me,” one of Bolt’s favorites.
“For me that’s a reassuring song to people you love that – even on your worst days – there’s someone you can rely on.”
Rinehart co-wrote the song with pastor-songwriter Steve Furtick of Elevation Church in North Carolina, and longtime Christian music songwriter/producer Jason Ingram.
Bolt points out it’s not a church/worship song, but rather a statement picturing unconditional love which resonates with Bolt and his wife after the recent arrival of their newborn daughter.
“Dreams,” co-written with Judah Akers of touring partners Judah & The Lion, is another personal highlight.
Bolt says the band plans to showcase all three of the new songs on the tour.
With its loyal fan base, NEEDTOBREATHE has retained listeners while putting itself in front of new ones. Last year they toured with OneRepublic, but also did a solo “acoustic” tour which brought a sold-out crowd to Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids in 2022.
The year after their tour with Taylor Swift, they were a headliner at the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon.
Now they’re coming out of the “caves” of the last few years, stretching into a expansive and even fuller sound.
“Here we are after 20 years and still going,” Bolt beamed. “It’s rare for a band to exist this long. “I’m just thrilled to continue to see day after day what else we can do.”
VIDEO: NEEDTOBREATHE, “Dreams” (featuring Judah & The Lion)
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