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Thursday July 31, 2014
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Over the Rhine

 

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a knack for keeping the duo front and center — they're not writing for a band, but rather using the other players to provide subtle backgrounds. At the center of Over the Rhine's sound is Bergquist's voice, a slender but visionary thing lately enriched by an engagement with classic jazz and blues. "Karin and I write songs that allow her voice to bloom," Detweiler says.

Their music is personal, reflecting several distinct concerns that make it hard to classify. All of it is subtle, dreamy, and low key. The closest comparison would be to Canada's Cowboy Junkies, with whom Over the Rhine toured for a while as "honorary members." "Folk-pop" and "alt-country" have been proposed as labels, and each is fine as far as it goes, but neither captures the role of Detweiler's piano, which can sketch sweeping rock landscapes or settle into cocktail-lounge shadows by turns. Their complex, rather literary lyric style is their own, often centered lately on quirky take-offs on romantic songs of the jazzy sort, songs about war and the violence that has infused itself into modern life, and spiritual essays — Over the Rhine has had a glancing relationship with the Christian music scene but has tended toward an unaffiliated desire for a better world and toward the fellowship found in hoping for it.

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