Over the Rhine
The Long Surrender
Great Speckled Dog Records
Husband/wife duos are starting to really hit the big-time. Mates of State and The Weepies are just two of the burgeoning artists coming out of this new sub-genre. But one group has been doing this for over 20 years and it shows on their latest album The Long Surrender. This fan-funded record comes with two sets of liner notes. One has everything you would expect; lyrics, thank yous, even a little write-up from producer Joe Henry, who also co-wrote two of the tracks on the album. The other is a 12-page list of every single person who donated to the making of the record. It’s their way of saying thank you. If any others wanted a lesson on how to truly connect with their fans, this is that lesson.
Oh yeah, they made a killer album, too! “Rave On” is not only where the title of the album can be found, but where you can find Karin Bergquist’s aching (and subtly sarcastic) vocals cracking as she sings lines like “Messiah come in a flat-head Ford/ To the Kansas young and dumb and bored” and “Adrenaline spills like blood that pours/ Screamin’ out – Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.”
Alt-country queen Lucinda Williams adds some grit to the heartfelt lyrics “I’m not too far gone/ To fall/ Headlong/ Into the arms that love me.”
“Oh Yeah by the Way” will make even the most hardened person shed a tear when they quietly harmonize “What a waste that I still love you/ After the mess you’ve made/ What a waste that I’m not jaded/ Once in a while I even smile/ What a waste you’re just a stranger/ To me now.”
With married duos like Over the Rhine, there is an obvious sense of intimacy, but where Mates of State are a little poppier and The Weepies are just down-right cuddly-pop, Bergquist and husband Linford Detweiler have a seriously mature sound. Maybe that comes from two decades of making music together. Maybe that’s just how they are. Whatever it is, Over the Rhine is one of the best husband/wife duos since Richard and Linda Thompson, and The Long Surrender proves it.
Over the Rhine: www.overtherhine.com