Over the Rhine

Billandlindford A year ago, I was granted the privilege of interviewing Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine. Armed with a notebook, a small recorder, two nice bottles of wine (a thank you gift), and a friend/photographer (Stanton Newman), we spoke for a few hours prior to his sold-out performance at The Cactus Café. During our conversation, he referred to a specific kind of musician – after you hear their music, “something changes. Things are never the same again.” He continued, “That is the kind of songwriter and singer I want to be.” Linford mentioned some of the people who have had that affect on him: artists like Maria McKee, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Randy Newman, and Bob Dylan. For me, that list would include Over the Rhine.

You can listen to an excerpt of our conversation here:

I am no singer-songwriter, but something changed in me after hearing Over the Rhine a few years ago. Dennis Haack has said that Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl is music for adults. I couldn’t help thinking the same as song after song played from Over the Rhine’s CD Ohio. This was music forged in the furnace of relationship. These were lyrics crafted with literary and poetic sensibilities, a Biblical ethic, bold honesty and what Jonathan Rogers has described as, “an appropriate and persistent sensuality.” In short, this sounded like life-as-it-is combined with hope for life-as-it-will-be. Don’t listen unless you are prepared to blush and to smile; to weep and to rewind.

Obsessions with self-preservation

Faded when I threw my fear away

It's not a thing you can imagine

You either lose your fear

Or spend your life with one foot in the grave

Is God the last romantic?

Excerpt from “Spark” (Bergquist/Detweiler) recording: Drunkard's Prayer

This coming weekend, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the husband-wife duo known as Over the Rhine will perform back-to-back shows (Sat. and Sun. nights) at the Texas Union Theatre. They promise no duplicate performances over the two nights. As artists pursuing their craft in service to their audience, Detweiler and Bergquist have no superiors. If Eric Liddell felt God’s pleasure when he ran, then certainly these two sense something similar when on stage.

As with all true craftsmen, there is a great deal of hard work behind each performance. And beyond that, there is joy, as of experiencing a true calling made evident before your very eyes. Perhaps we can host them for an All Saints concert and conversation at some point, but don’t wait for that. Go online and purchase tickets for Saturday or Sunday. Lucy Wainwright Roche is opening (daughter of Loudon, sister of Rufus).