Following their jazz-influenced album The Long Surrender, Over the Rhine returns to its Americana roots with this double album. Produced by Joe Henry and recorded live in the studio over six days in Pasadena, Calif., these intimate songs are simpler, more scaled down. They stem from Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist’s reflections on life from their Ohio farm over the past couple of years. Bergquist’s voice remains distinctly graceful.
This album is at times darker and more critical than past records, exploring the meaning of life and home as they reflect on the forgiveness and sacrifice required to be in relationships. The farm setting allows for more pastoral reflections between the natural world and the beauty and brokenness of the human world. On “All Over Ohio,” their anger about religious distortions comes out: “I have seen the slow corruption / Of the best ideas of Christ / In the pulpits of our nation / Gospel turned into white lies.” Be forewarned that the songs at times use some harsh language to express these strong emotions.
Over the course of a long career and marriage, Linford and Detweiler have found ways to complement each other amidst their differences. These beautiful songs allow us to catch a glimpse of this. (Great Speckled Dog)