Over the Rhine, a husband and wife duo from Ohio, have created a music catalog over the past couple of decades that encompasses a soulful inspiring existence. Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have a mesmerizing presence that transcends across the stage and leaves you captivated throughout their entire performance. Being a fan for almost two decades, thanks to an old roommate of mine who has been following them for just as long (thank you Hannah!!), I consider every album they release a gift. I have shared some of their holiday music with you along the way, but after seeing them perform last night at The Barns at Wolf Trap (lucky for me, it’s the second time I’ve seen them here), I left there thinking that although they have been around for a while, I should share their music with all of you.
I will admit now that I own every single one of their albums. I cannot remotely begin to rank them in order of my favorites. Every song they release is a masterpiece. Lyrically, the emotion in their songs is so unabashedly raw that as a listener, one will find themselves hard pressed not to be drawn into their feelings.
If you’re looking for your next shindig’s dance party, look elsewhere. Over the Rhine’s music is focused on inspiring your soul, opening your heart, and making you feel the things you’ve been repressing for years. There is something cathartic about their music. They will take you on their journey of love, loss, and heartbreak. They will also take you down a walk through nature and inspire you with beautifully thought out imagery that is so often lacking in today’s newer music. With a combination of bluesy jazzy indie sounds, Detweiler and Bergquist’s vocals accompany each other in a manner that is unparalleled and timeless. Both talented musicians on the piano and the acoustic guitar, their contributions to the musical arena are awe-inspiring. Bergquist’s soulful sound will give you chills when she sings her higher blues riffs. Detweiler is blessed with a unique sound to his voice that is deep, somber, and perfect for storytelling. I get excited when he comes on stage and starts rambling off some of his thoughts about the world, about their relationship, their journey as husband and wife, etc, etc. I say rambling because his musings are amongst my favorite. He admits this on stage and is unashamed of it. His wife is quick to respond about how she’s been dealing with this her entire life, and their banter gives us a quick glimpse into their dynamic. It is that dynamic that inspires the journey of their music. To compare them to other similar artists, I feel would perhaps not do their music justice. I suppose I could say what others have said. They will remind you of the Cowboy Junkies and the blues in Bergquist’s vocals will be reminiscent of Lucinda Williams. All of this is fair and accurate, but their instrumentality and vocals combined really make them deserving of being categorized as simply being Over the Rhine. Unique in their own right.
If you’ve never listened to Over the Rhine, I hope that you will find them a necessary add to your collection. I encourage you to explore all of their albums. Find the one that suits your mood or find that special song that you need for the moment. Many of us are trying to make our way in what seems like a very chaotic and confusing world these days. Many of us find ourselves hurt by the actions of others. There is a lot of hate in this world. I hope that you will defy subscribing to it. Here’s hoping Over the Rhine’s music invites some peace and love into your world. Detweiler and Bergquist have stated…
“We need and turn to music, now more than ever to get through these times.”
I agree. It is okay to own our emotions and live through them. It’s what in the end makes us human and music can help us cope as we go through these moments.
Last night, they dedicated this melody to Syrian refugees. Here’s clip from last night’s hauntingly beautiful performance.
“They stole my blood right out of this ground…they’d still kick a flower when it’s down.”
Here’s the full version for your enjoyment.
If there was ever a song that I could identify with, it is Over the Rhine‘s Born. Life hasn’t been easy for me as of late, for a variety of dynamics and reasons. Perhaps, All of My Favorite People Are Broken… When I start to forget who I am at the core, this song reminds me that this is who I have always been. I refuse to change. Given the choice, any day, I will love — without fear. And given the choice, I will always choose red over white. Perhaps you will find that this song speaks to you as well.
“I was born to laugh, I learned to laugh through my tears.
I was born to love, I’m gonna learn to love without fear.
Pour me a glass of wine, Talk deep into the night
Who knows what we’ll find.”
Another one of their songs that hits home is Suitcase. It’s a heartbreaker but the piano and her vocals are ethereal.
The following song makes me close my eyes and sway to the melody. Her powerful smoky voice soars in this number, and the harmonies are exquisite live.
Linford and Karin, I’m glad I got to meet you and briefly chat with you last night. Sorry my allergies were so bad! I was almost embarrassed to say hello, but thanks for signing the Vinyl for me. I have your Nowhere Else Music Festival at your barn in Ohio on my bucket list! Thank you for the music.
Thanks for listening! Until next time music lovers…