Over the Rhine, a husband-and-wife duo from the Cincinnati neighborhood that is the band’s namesake, blew audiences away, performing songs from their 20-year recording career, including songs from the newly released The Trumpet Child. With startlingly good compositions in haute-honky “Don’t Wait for Tom” (a taunting, bluesy lil’ ditty which may or may not be an homage to Mr. Waits), the swanky, swingin’ “I’m On a Roll,” a country-jazz hotel lobby standard in “I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time,” the bossanova-tinged “Nothing Is Innocent,” the New Orleans-steeped “Who’m I Kiddin’ But Me” and the title track, a self-described meeting point between the white American hymnal and the black American jazz waltz, the album is a welcome page in the great songbook of Americana.
Starting out as a quartet, Linford Detweiler – who, with his foppish hair, indie glasses and long-drawn, Ohio-paced storytelling musical interludes – evokes a soulful, literary Garrison Keillor for the hipster masses (well, those hipster masses with a penchant for ragtime, anyway) and Karin Bergquist, a sex kitten with the pipes – sounding a mix of Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris and Suzanne Vega – to back it up, have got 17 albums under their belt, toured as members of the Cowboy Junkies, opened for Bob Dylan, were named as one of Paste magazine’s top 100 songwriters of all time and are not afraid to record Christmas holiday albums.
They blend all the best America has to offer – folk, jazz, gospel, ragtime, R&B, country, blues – with respect, dignity, love and talent ... and about each and every instrument under the sun. The lingering effect is one of vintage tunes that manage to be just refreshing enough to wake us from our 21st century stupor.