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South Carolina rock group Needtobreathe debuted in the 2000s with an earnest tone similar to John Mayer or Kings of Leon and lyrics inspired by their Christian faith. Despite occasional spiritual pigeonholing, the band found crossover success with secular audiences, touring with genre-spanning acts such as Train, Taylor Swift, and Tim McGraw. With each successive album, they made a slow climb toward the top of the pop charts, emerging in the Top Ten with 2011's The Reckoning and rising to number two with 2016's Hard Love. Meanwhile, each of those albums, as well as 2020's Out of Body, hit number one on the Christian Albums chart. The band's fifth Christian Albums chart-topper, Into the Mystery, arrived in 2021 along with a companion documentary film. The band was formed by brothers Bear and Bryant "Bo" Rinehart, who were born and raised in rural Possum Kingdom, South Carolina, where their pastor father ran a church camp. After moving to nearby Seneca, the two siblings were exposed to a variety of music and started playing instruments themselves. Several years later, while enrolled at Furman University, Bear -- who was also an award-winning wide receiver -- moonlighted as a vocalist, guitarist, and pianist, even finding time to perform around campus with longtime friend and drummer Joe Stillwell. Meanwhile, Bo studied architecture at Clemson while playing guitar in his spare time. After graduation, both he and bassist Seth Bolt joined the Bear/Stillwell duo to form Needtobreathe. Since Bolt had received a degree in recording engineering, the band honed their sound while laying down several EPs at Bolt's own Plantation Studios. A strenuous tour of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest followed. The hard work paid off when Needtobreathe came to the attention of Atlantic/Lava Records, which signed the group in 2005. A debut full-length album, Daylight (the cover of which was painted by Bo), arrived one year later, recorded at the British Heliocentric Studios with Keane's producer Andy Green. Tours with Train, Collective Soul, and Will Hoge kept the guys busy throughout the year, and they returned to the studio in December to begin work on their follow-up. The Heat was released in August 2007, and helped establish the band as one of Christian rock's most successful newcomers, spawning several singles and earning two Dove Award nominations while maintaining a crossover audience.
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