Sunday, August 1, 2010
Over The Rhine in Albuquerque
Last night, Mary and I had the delicious opportunity to see Over the Rhine perform at the Outpost Performance Space in downtown Albuquerque. Over the Rhine is the lovechild of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, a married couple who first met while they were poor music students living in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. This particular show featured a live recording of a 45-minute interview for the "Art of the Song" radio series, often heard on independent and public radio stations. The interview taped last night will happily be available on the Art of the Song website quite soon.
While living in Western Massachusetts, we had seen OtR perform several times at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton after discovering them via the excellent college radio available in that area. Having not seen them for several years, catching them here in New Mexico was an incredible treat.
What we love about Karin and Linford is their willingness to make themselves vulnerable, to write about their lives, their relationship, and their own struggles as human beings. They see songs as a means for the listener to experience deep feeling and a vision of what life could be, and they use their gifts deftly. Not averse to fun, they are both very capable of irreverence and play, but the preponderance of their ouvre consists of songs depicting stories, people and situations of great emotional depth and introspection.
We were lucky enough to be able to bring Tina into the venue with a special dispensation. Knowing that Karin and Linford love dogs (and were probably missing their dogs as they continue on tour), Mary ran into them before the show and told them that Tina was in the audience. After their encore, Karin and Linford came out to greet their fans, making an immediate beeline for little Tina. Instantly transforming from performers to dog-lovers, they sat on the floor and engaged with Tina (and us) for a good five minutes before moving on to the other fans waiting to chat and have their CDs autographed. It was a watershed moment for Tina, and Mary was equally pleased to receive a kiss on the cheek from each of them as we parted ways. (We also made sure to give them our card and the url for this blog!)
In November, Over the Rhine and some musical guests will be headlining a 5-day musical train tour of the West, with many lucky fans riding the rails with them, making stops at many spectacular places in between impromptu jam sessions aboard the train and scheduled concerts at various whistlestops. While we can't afford the train trip, we plan to see them again when they disembark in Santa Fe to play a gig during that trip, and we also look forward to their new recording when it's released later this year.
It was a wonderful evening, and left us with that breathless feeling when musicians and audience members share a mutually transcendent experience somewhat beyond description but almost universally understood. And to paraphrase the guitarist Robert Fripp, a recording may be a love letter from a musician to his or her fans, but a live performance is nothing less than a hot date.