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Music Review: Over The Rhine – The Long Surrender

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Over The Rhine was named for a neighborhood in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Their career has now passed the twenty year mark. During that time they have released fourteen studio, three live, and five compilation albums.

The band was originally a foursome. Guitarist Rick Hordinski left in 1996 and drummer Brian Kelley during 1997. Keyboardist/guitarist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/acoustic guitarist Karin Bergquist have carried on with a number of supporting musicians. Their sound is difficult to define as it combines pop, jazz, and even a little country into a unique and interesting mix.

They have had a successful career, sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, John Prine, The Squeeze, and Ani DiFranco. The album was produced by Grammy winner Joe Henry who has worked with such artists as Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, Elvis Costello, and Mose Allison.

Their latest album, The Long Surrender, will be released February 8th. It is one of their strongest releases as it combines sophisticated lyrics that make you think and well constructed songs that flow smoothly past the ear.

“The Laugh Of Recognition” is an early contender for my list of the year’s top ten songs. Bergquist has one of those memorable voices that is both powerful and emotional. The song is haunting and stays with you.

There are a number of other strong tracks. “Rave On” is based on a poem by B.H. Fairchild and gave birth to the album’s title. Bergquist’s voice stretches about as far as it can go in a memorable performance. “Undamned” is a nice ballad that features a duet with Lucinda Williams. “Infamous Love Song” is a torch type performance that is almost like a novel filled with apocalyptic imagery.

The music industry is a big place and Over The Rhine has carved out a nice niche for itself. Hopefully The Long Surrender will bring them some mainstream success.

It’s snowing in North Carolina and Over The Rhine is playing on the stereo system. The album is even available on vinyl. Perfect!

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