Photo courtesy of Over the Rhine
It’s rare for any band to exist for 20 years, but Cincinnati-based group Over the Rhine has persevered.
The group is scheduled to perform to a nearly sold-out crowd at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Lincoln Theatre.
Consisting of multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the husband-and-wife combo will release its new record in 2011. “The Long Surrender” is scheduled for release Jan. 11.
The new album features Over the Rhine pairing up with songwriter and producer Joe Henry and a guest vocal performance by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams.
The band, named after the Cincinnati neighborhood Over-the-Rhine, has an extensive catalog of material featuring more than 10 studio albums, four live albums and several compilation records. Its music ranges from blues to progressive folk rock.
“Hopefully each record has its own distinct personality. Hopefully each record is a particular mile-marker that documents a specific period of our lives,” Detweiler said. “Karin and I, being able to stay interested in the songwriting and the actual music is what has allowed us to stay interested for 20 years. If we didn’t believe in the music, we would have moved on a long time ago.”
The band recorded its new album on the West Coast with Henry, who assembled musicians to help Over the Rhine record “The Long Surrender.”
“On the one hand it was just musicians gathering in a house and playing songs live and listening to each other,” Detweiler said. “On the other hand, it felt like the house lifted off the ground, floated out over a stormy sea and blew apart, and Joe was able to get us back to shore safely.”
Detweiler said he was amazed at how easily the songs came together during the recording process. Many of the tracks on the album were recorded in a single take.
“The first time the band played through the song together, we quite often felt like that was a moment worth capturing forever. It was amazing that songs can land so quickly,” he said.
Henry sent a track titled “Undamned” to Williams, who performed a vocal duet with Bergquist on the song. Detweiler said it was a particularly moving part of the recording process and the band’s history.
“I must say that a few tears were shed when (Williams and Bergquist) started singing into the microphone together,” he said. “It was a good moment, and it was very much a moment that felt like it was 20 years in the making.”
Over the Rhine is known for its connection with its fan base. Detweiler said the band’s do-it-yourself mentality when it started was different than other bands at the time.
“Very early on, Karin and I wanted to have a direct relationship with our listeners. We didn’t want to go through a middleman. We didn’t want the label to do that work for us,” he said. “We always reached to them directly, and in that regard, I think we might have been a little ahead of our time in some ways.”
Heather Johnson, a fourth-year in operations management and information systems, has been following the band since an ex-boyfriend introduced them to her in 1996.
She said Over the Rhine is her “band of choice” when her “mood calls for reflection or pondering.”
“It’s a band that has a sound that’s different, and they know who they are, and they don’t care if they’re signed, they don’t care if they’re popular,” Johnson said. “They know who they are, and they are playing that music for their fans. It really speaks to me as a more … personal kind of thing. It’s kind of like that underground thing where only I know about them.”
Johnson also praised the band’s ability to attract new fans, along with its showmanship during live performances.
“A lot of bands find their niche of fans, and they don’t grow. I think that’s actually something else that impresses me about this band is the ability to find new public,” she said. “Every single time I go to a show, there’s new people there of all ages and of all kinds of different backgrounds, and (the band) just rocks out.”