Over the Rhine has negotiated their space among contemporary music as inhabiting both old and new, bringing in elements of the past and updating them with intimate production, razor-sharp arrangements and excellent songwriting. One of their main weaknesses, however, has been in the parallel and often uniform sound that they have across their oeuvre, and that's fairly apparent on The Long Surrender.
Twenty years into their career, Ohio's Over the Rhine – the husband and wife duo, not the neighborhood – is now a genuine underground music force. They rule their home state's venues, stealthily sell out shows across the country, and sell thousands of albums on their own while somehow remaining virtually unknown. Despite a dedicated fan base that ravenously devours anything they put out, travels to shows in the Midwest and beyond, and generally treats principals Karin Berquist and Linford Detweiler like royalty, you'll seldom hear their name mentioned anywhere.
“I don’t want to waste your time with music you don’t need,” Karin Bergquist, lead singer of Over the Rhine, declares at the start of The Trumpet Child, the Cincinnati-based band’s 18th full-length album. She’s not joking, either. Bergquist has never really been a shy singer, but up until recent years, she wouldn’t be classified as what she is now: confident.
It’s not a stretch to say that Over the Rhine is at their creative peak. The last few years have produced the art rock Films for Radio, the addicting double album Ohio, and the intimate and personal Drunkard’s Prayer, not to mention a few internet-only live albums that have been sold to dedicated fans along the way. Granted, they haven’t caught national attention like Wilco or The Flaming Lips, but nonetheless, it’s been a great time to follow their lead and watch them evolve.
Smiling and having a grand time on stage, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist looked like newlyweds as they treated fans at Blueberry Hill
Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, who make up the husband and wife duo of Over the Rhine, have endured their share of heartache. Drunkard’s Prayer, is a back to basics effort, recorded after the band’s mini-break to energize their souls.