NeedToBreathe at Humphrey’s

Yup, and before you say it, I am fully aware that my all too infrequent blogs (these days) seem to revolve around the comings and goings of this one band.  What can I say?  I’ve been so caught up in the other stuff that time for my love, music, gets away from me (trust me, that won’t last), but put a band in front of me that inspires me to sing, to play, to write about it all and I will tap away on this worn down keyboard (that I may have also accidentally spilled grapefruit juice on the other day, making it like walking through molasses).

That said, I love this band, I love this band, I love this band~  I love their sounds, I love their passion,  I love how connected they are to eachother and I love their sense of style (I don’t care Ryan, I like the hat). These are good ole southern boys who’s roots are in religion. For those of other persuasions who are turned off by the sound of that, you should know, they don’t come off as a “Christian” band.  They may have written and sing songs with lyrics like “The Devil’s been talkin”, “I am the friendliest of friends with God”, “I am washed by water” and oh, wait. Y’know what, I don’t care and neither should you. To me, their draw is universal by their authenticity.  The boys of NeedToBreathe are playing and singing (really well) to us all and appealing to the common ground that we all share, our love for life, love, music and our Need to Breathe.

Jen and Joseph at the NeedToBreathe concert at Birch Aquarium.

We brought a new convert with us.  Karyn, who’s heard of them for a while now, but wasn’t sure if she was a fan or not.  She and M were on the far right while I had scored a seat in the second row (between Seth and Bear). Before NTB started though, we were standing at the back and enjoying the 2nd warmup act called Good Old War.  They’re made up of: Keith GOODwin, Tim ArnOLD and Dan SchWARtz.  They’re an indie-Folk trio out of Philly.  The way that Goodwin dances around like a geek son of Gumbie and Guster is a show in itself, but they really do have a great sound and solid chemistry together.  Check em out. The first opener was Matthew Mayfield and I really am sorry I missed him.  From what I heard, I would’ve learned a lot from him. Different from what I’d learned from GOW and wow, is this funny (wait for it), but I was about to mention that Joseph and his wife Jen found us when we were in the back and we got a chance to catch up, when just as I was typing it out, there was Jen friending me on facebook.  Her ears must’ve been burning~  Great couple and thank you for reminding me, yet another great thing about this band is the caliber of people (from all walks) that we’ve met at their shows. Seriously, cool.  Met these two when NTB played at the Scripps Aquarium. Y’know the one where M got her picture taken with Bear (by me).  Yeah…Ashleigh gets to party with them in SLO (when she was off to see a friend in another band) and M gets to pose with Bear (though she was aiming for Bo) and I’m still sitting here warming up my vocals…yes, I did, I had my chords all warmed up and on the ready in case Bear wanted a female backup on Stones Under Rushing Water, but <sigh> there was no call to the stage (as if these things happen). My day will come dammit.  I will have my duet with Bear.  Or maybe…just maybe he’ll do a duet with me…on one of my songs…(hey, well, while I’m dreaming…)

M dared to state that when he brought up all the many places they’ve played here in San Diego that he was looking our way as if to acknowledge recognizing us from such events as the Hornblower(s), The Belly Up or the Birch. Ehm…tough one.  You know you want to believe that’s the case and I admit I liked the idea. When I’m on stage I do tend to notice a familiar face here and there and some do imprint in my mind, but it’s random, now more than ever.

Seth Holt and Bear Rinehart of NeedtoBreathe - Photo by Ali Gilmore

Seth and Bear on the Hornblower

Moving on…by backtracking to earlier in the show where I saw the signs…well, first off was the printed sign that stood at the entrance “No cameras or recording equipment”.  Crap.  I never thought to get a press pass. I’ve never needed one until now~ I had to leave my D7000 the nice restaurant manager for safe keeping. That was the first hint. The next was the flashy props setup; a gigantic light up typewriter key set with almost blinding (in a good way) light show action and I thought “uh, oh…here it comes…they’ve crossed over and we’ll never get within 50 yards of em ever again.  Pack up your Cd’s peeps cuz signing days are over.”  The sinking in my chest dropped even further when it became apparent that Joe (Stillwell), their long time drummer had parted ways. Don’t get me wrong, the new kid is great and does a killer Minnie Pearl impression. It’s just a well known sign of things to come.  You see it often at the crossroads right? More often it’s because someone in the band was happy with the status quo and doesn’t want all that comes with the next level.  Hey guys, we called it on the boat, just after they got out of the Reckoning studio, but by the look on Seth’s face, I thought it’d be him walking off into that androgynous sunset.  I was happy to see he didn’t.  We all were.

On a side note, y’know how we’ve all been asking “who the hell is that guy (we’re pointing to the keyboard player)?”  He’s always around (here on the west coast at least), but no one ever mentions his name…just found it on Wikipedia when I was looking up Bear’s age…I know, I know, what’s that got to do with anything other than a check on exactly how inappropriate a woman of a certain age’s thoughts would be of going on a date with him…purely hypothetical and for research purposes only mind you, but I digress.  His name is

Josh Lovelace, Joe Stillwell

Josh Lovelace, Joe Stillwell and Bo’s backside

Josh Lovelace (that’s him all blurry in the background) and he’s a “touring” musician.  This is what he does.  He goes around touring with bands, helping them beef up their sounds for the bigger stages.  Pretty exciting when you think of it, but at this point he’s imprinted in our heads, so how bout it boys, why not make him a permanent member of your clan?

A couple things I want to say in closing to the boys of NTB on the off, off chance that any one of them might ever read this.  I appreciated what you said about the meaning behind the previous recordings and The Reckoning.  That before, your songs were a reflection of your anger with the world for not listening. I get it.  I’ve got a book out there [The C Card and Me], people keep saying how great and inspiring it is, but I don’t see it flying off any shelves yet, and if it did then I would feel the same as you say The Reckoning means to you. Now that you are on the crux of global recognition and all that goes with it, you do worry how it will effect you.  Well, I say that fame doesn’t change a person.  At first, it’s a reflection of how others want to see you and then it, at some pivotal moment, reveals you for who you are.  Kind of like Joaquin Phoenix.  Everyone thought he was this timid, intricate and gifted actor.  Turns out he was just a megalomaniacal, self indulgent douchebag, who knew?  Being artists/performers (I think), means that we all have the capacity to be either and that the smart ones are wise enough to hold on to the ones that keep us real, who know us best, who won’t hesitate to put their foot down to ensure one of ours stays planted.  Think of all the bands that were all the rage until the leader got too sure of their worth, went solo and were rarely heard from again?  I’m just sayin…maybe we are as great as we are for the company we keep.  I know I am.  So, you guys like San Diego a lot, even if it means playing at “Yacht clubs” 😉 I moved here from rainy Seattle (who I will always love from afar) and M from Staten island, we agree, this place is amazing, so you just feel free to come back around any time 🙂

Last thing I want to say (and I say this with love) is in regards to all those years you spent being angry because you thought the world wasn’t listening.  Hey, I was listening. I’ve been listening (intently) since 2007 since I first heard your song on that oh so sappy (but I still watch it) movie, P.S. I Love You. Hell, that song was my anthem for years, and I’ll bet if we asked the rest of your current fb fans I’m sure you’d find there were a lot of us listening.  You just needed to set down those long range binoculars that every label regrettably hands a new band (and publicists to new authors), to see us…

ali gilmore music on facebook

Check out NeedToBreathe photos and videos on the AGM FB page

P.S. Oh yeah, Karyn?  Definitely a fan now 😉