At some point in their life, everybody has felt trapped between the past and what is to come, stranded in the purgatory of the present wondering if the future will bring joy or despair. It’s not a comfortable feeling; but that doesn’t stop Wilder Woods from fearlessly digging into the discomfort in his debut single “Sure Ain’t.” Via a sonic topography ranging from distant, dreamy guitar to explosive vocal belts, the singer maps out what it means to learn from the journey as much as the destination.
Wilder Woods is the solo project of acclaimed musician Bear Rinehart, founding member of Grammy-nominated band NEEDTOBREATHE. The artist’s debut under this alias heralds a new chapter in Rinehart’s illustrious career, one inspired by the experience of developing a family as a touring musician – in fact, the moniker Wilder Woods is a combination of the artist’s son’s names, Wilder Rinehart and Woods Rinehart. “I felt like they were growing up at light speed,” confesses the singer. “I wanted to stop time, if only for a moment, and write this music as a letter to them. I wanted to show them that at this point in my life, I wasn’t afraid to step into the unknown.”
Though the project arose as an homage to his family, Rinehart admits that his solo venture soon developed to include a quest for personal growth. “Wilder Woods became as much about self-discovery as it was a letter to the ones I love,” the artist explains. “It became a challenge to myself, to learn from my past, to turn my self-induced calamities into something I, and my family, could be proud of.”
“Sure Ain’t” exudes these sentiments in every element of the song’s structure. The track opens with Rinehart’s buoyant, delicate rasp pondering the tenuous state of his relationship over a terrain of murky bass and lilting guitar. Soon the song begins to take on a warm glow, eventually blooming into a soulful chorus wherein the singer’s brassy tenor declares, “it sure ain’t gonna break my heart,” over an exultant organ that slyly reveals the Carolinian’s southern roots.
Wilder Woods’ debut single is accompanied by a music video directed by Gus Black, veteran director who has previously worked with artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Lennon Stella, and Gary Clark Jr. Watch the video for “Sure Ain’t” below, and keep your eyes peeled for Wilder Woods’ full-length debut later this year.