Brothers Bear Rinehart and Bo Rinehart were raised in Possum Kingdom, South Carolina and later moved to Seneca. Their family was involved in a camping ministry and they have some great youth group stories!
They first performed in front of coffee house audiences at Furman University where Bear, who was named after University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, was a wide receiver for the Furman football team. Bear won the 2002 Banks McFadden trophy for South Carolina football player of the year. After graduation, Bear, Bo and Joe Stillwell joined with Seth Bolt, releasing independent albums that were recorded in Bolt's Plantation Studios.
Bear and Bo are the main songwriters for the group, and after 2011's The Reckoning, their relationship had fallen apart.
"The fighting got progressively worse to the point where we just knew we had to take some time off," Bolt recalled.
"Bear and Bo went about six weeks without talking to each other at all," he continued. "I mean, they're family and they've never gone a month and a half without saying a word."
"I was pretty much stuck in the middle and torn between my two best friends," Bolt said.
Part of the problems was the competitive nature between the brothers.
"It can be really tough to hand a record to the world and say this defines us and it can only be 11 songs when there was 200 to choose from," Bolt said. "That's pretty tough and the brothers are the writers, and they've always been really, really competitive."
"That brotherly turmoil, I think, is what started making that process last longer and longer and longer until recently when we were forced to take a break," he said.
All that changed when they finally settled on working on a Rivers in the Wasteland.
"We originally we were going to call it The Wasteland and then halfway through the process we started to experience a sort of a revival internally and together," Bolt said. "That led to the changing of it to Rivers of the Wasteland, because something new and exciting was happening to us and that was the river."
The whole thing was a relief for Bolt. "I'm basically a brother," he said. "I was 7 years old when I met them. I took piano lessons from their mom we went to summer camp together, played sports together and just ran around with our shoes off together before we even thought about picking up a guitar and playing music. Where we got to was pretty far removed from that innocence," Bolt said. "It is awesome to be back inside of that relationship with each other and with God. We feel like we've been given a second chance."
The renewed bonds is evident their live concerts too, where the band is tight, their movements all practically in sync.
"There's something about watching a band that is on the same wavelength," Bolt said. "It's nice to be one of those bands now, where we are firing on all cylinders and having the time of our lives doing it."
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