This South Carolina-bred foursome retains the rootsy qualities it displayed on earlier releases while adding a bolder, more accessibly sonic edge here. The result is a fresh take on Southern rock, underscoring a largely acoustic instrumental approach with aggressive rhythms and strategic dashes of electric guitar. Bear Rinehart proves himself a wailing lead vocalist in the classic Ray Charles/Joe Cocker mode, diving into tracks like the stomp-driven “Lay ‘Em Down” and the expansive “These Hard Times” with a desperate fervor. “Stones Under Rushing Water” (a wistful ballad featuring Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins) and “Garden” display Bear’s ability to project innate strength with an almost tremulous delivery. Though much of The Outsiders has a serious tone, there’s a playful spirit in the carefree “Girl Named Tennessee” and the slinky “Prisoner.” With “Let Us Love,” Needtobreathe delivers a soaring message of redemption. All told a nearly flawless effort, at once heroic and very human at its core.