Till We Have Faces

Order Online iTunes
  •   1. Eyes Wide Open
  •   2. Someday
  •   3. Like A Radio
  •   4. Iron Curtain
  •   5. Cast Me Away
  •   6. And Can It Be
  •   7. Gentle Wounds
  •   8. L.A.R. Reprise
  •   9. If I'm Drowning
  •   10. Sea and Sky
  •   11. Fly Dance
  •   12. Paul and Virginia
  •   13. Ubiquitous Hands
  •   14. The Genius of Water
1. Eyes Wide Open

eyes wide open
to the great train robbery of my soul
impending blindness
of the kind that’s beyond my control

eyes wide open
to the secret forest beyond those tear-filled trees
heart-rending blindness
won’t testify that i’m on my knees

maybe i’m a little young to care
maybe i’m a little old to cry
i don’t know
maybe i’m a little weak to dance
maybe i’m a little strong to die
i don’t know

concentrating
love and i’m hating myself again
impersonating
the smallest shadow of my original self again

does anybody really want to grasp
my hand and lift me to my feet? does
anybody really want to be the breeze
that frightens off this heat?

2. Someday

and if you call my name
make it clear
and if you call my name
make it plain
and if you call my name
make it evident
i wouldn’t miss it for the world

and if you need my attention
be bizarre
feel free to ignore convention
(it’s alright)
and if it’s a matter of permission
you can do me harm
i wouldn’t miss it for the world

someday
i’ll pray
don’t leave me alone

and if you call my name
call it again
my mind’s been known to wonder
call it again
you know i’ve been waiting
for this since God knows when
i wouldn’t miss it for the world

3. Like A Radio

confused
ever since i spied you in the rooms of my mind
now i can’t deny you

bleeding and bruised
like a vagabond in rags i’ve walked the streets to you door
to find just what’s in store

i see you
you and many others in your clean well-lighted place
where i would find disgrace

but i do
know i’d find contentment just to be your furniture
i need nothing more

in the thick of the night take me out of the cold
let me sing inside
like a radio
in the thick of the night before we grow too old
let me sing inside
like a radio

shivering and cold this night’s conducive to a
flight into my soul but i stand here
though my heart grows bold
once on the inside i can quietly persist
and hold my tears

and so still i wait
though i grow much weaker
i will not faint
i’ll stay true

believe me when i say
i’d climb to heaven
crawl beneath the lowest hell
to stay near you

4. Iron Curtain

yesterday i saw
the iron curtain
around your heart

making me cry
making me wonder
bringing me down
but making me love you

making me sad
making me sorry and
a little afraid
but making me love you

yeah

yesterday i saw
the iron curtain
around your heart

 
5. Cast Me Away

cast me away
from yesterday’s things
in deed and in my memory

sweeten the taste
of the past
and borrow just a little more time for me

6. And Can It Be

this night is so big
this night has stars falling into my hands
and if i listen real close
i can hear some distant train crossing
(it makes me wonder)

cast your shadow
cast your shadow across my heart
investigate me
i hope i’ve been yours right from the start
(it makes me wonder)

and can it ever be
i would know
experience
the casualty of your love
all i can ever see
is the need
climb out of here
find the way to some quiet place
where you are

this night is so dark
this night has silence and very little fear
tell me this welcome peace
isn’t dancing with the ghost of future tears
(it makes me wonder)

see how the road melts
hear how the flowers fall
feel how the smoke rolls
in front of my eyes

see how the trees bend
hear how the heavens hush
feel how the earth fades
in front of my eyes

and can it ever be?

no
please no

7. Gentle Wounds

entertaining visions of a
lucid nature
emotional precision
it’s our best behavior
rattling the streetcars on
forgotten streets
making a connection with
the bittersweet

crawling into your mind
for some radiant reunion
tapping out the messages
that signify your
folded wings
the ground around receding
feel love’s stinging sword
cut deep and catch
the joy that’s bleeding out of
gentle wounds

feel the pang of hunger
feel the new life awaken
restoring everything
that once was taken...

symbolizing agony that
made the women weep
feel love’s stinging sword
slice deep and catch
the joy that’s bleeding out of
gentle wounds

bruised and beaten torn apart
the price that’s paid for love divine
can’t spare your life don’t spare
your heart
just feel the joy...

8. L.A.R. Reprise
9. If I'm Drowning

if i’m drowning within your open sea
save me, save me
if i’m lost within your strange anatomy
talk to me, talk to me
if i’m on fire and i’m melting in the heat
touch me, touch me
if i’m tangled in your raw philosophy
then you better walk with me
walk with me

i’m just walking across your heart
in spite of the weather
(won’t you walk with me?)

if i’m dancing through your passages and fall
catch me, catch me
if i’m screaming in your sky and tell you all
hear me, hear me
if i’m feigning coherence and calmness
laugh with me, laugh with me
if i tremble at your close proximity
then you better believe me
believe me

i can see you now
i can hear you now
i can feel you now
i can taste you now
in spite of the weather
yeah

10. Sea and Sky

i feel like a castaway but i’m not afraid
you and me and a coupla dusty volumes
i wanna be your messiah but there’s no way
i feel the tide roll in around us

you be the sea and i’ll be the sky
i want you with me now don’t wonder why
you be the sea and i’ll be the sky
endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

this love’s like a labyrinth but i’m not afraid
you and me and a strong sense of forever
like the old Swiss Family Robinson
let’s drift away
if we go down at least we’ll drown together
(i can’t forget you)

it’s a little like this, it’s a little like being afraid
it’s a little like yesterday, though i don’t mean
to invade Clouds rolled in front of your
face your tears became the rain i heard
wonderful thunder as you murmured as
you murmured my name
(take me far away, teach my soul to feel
that way You take me far away
it’s wonderful, wonderful)

roll away, roll away with me
you be the sea
and i’ll be the sky

11. Fly Dance

fly dance
the liberation of love with my two hands
fly dance
the cultivation of love with my two hands
fly dance
the sensation of love with my two hands
fly dance
the revelation of love with my two hands

i can tell you what i have to
i can tell you what i need to
but it won’t really stick in your head

i’d really rather liberate
yes i’d really rather free you
i wanna rip you from your spider’s web

spider’s in your head
creepin’ ‘round your bed
the spider’s lookin’ now what does he see

sly and ceremonial
you know he’s a phony old
tycoon with a penitentiary

12. Paul and Virginia

spill-tainted pages of poetic prophecy
tickle my interest and taunt at my fantasy
gentle new lover, favorite friend
with hidden desire that bothers my conscience
again

like paul and virginia!
sit close to me on the swing
like paul and virginia!
sit close to me and i’ll sing
(whisper my name, kiss me again)
i’ll sing for you
with you
oh, you

cobalt blue vessels, clean same sex rabbits
old movie romance and a healthy new habit

moving in passion, resting in reason
with a strong tender poet who touches each region
within

illuminatiions that shine on the river
subliminal glances provoking a shiver

palms full of mystery, fingers of magic
greetings so glorious, partings so tragic

like paul and virginia!

 
13. Ubiquitous Hands

it’s a first impression
silence is deceiving
but just around the corner
i can hear
i can hear you breathe

it’s a calm confession
a curious obsession
no matter when i listen
i can hear
i can hear you breathe
i can hear you breathing

if you stay and never go
away
i’ll repeat the same mistakes
i’ve made
i’ll believe most anything you
say and
watch my heart of stone melt
into clay

first i’m disbelieving
then i’m almost drowning
swimming in the ocean with the
sound
i can hear you breathe

walking in the heavens
falling on the ground
rolling on the earth
you’re all around
i can hear you breathe
i can hear you breathing

in your hands
in your hands
(fall into your
ubiquitous hands)

it’s an indication
i’m your destination
i hope it’s not just
my imagination

14. The Genius of Water

meet me in the morning
at the bus stop
we’ll ride into the town
down to the square
to see the angel
see the angel in the fountain
meet me in the morning

meet me after daybreak
tie your hair back
we’ll drift into the crowd
get lost among the loud
and they’ll be singing
they’ll be singing in our daydream
when we’re tired we’ll leave them
all behind and walk away

i love you a lot

meet me in the courtyard
where the saints pray
musing in our stare
still painfully aware
that there are others
shoulds and woulds with names and faces
close your eyes and open up your mind
and hear me say

see the angel
she’s dancing in the water
hear the angel
she’s laughing in the water

something in the way that you
said you really felt that we could be
good friends forever
...together for a long time

The thought of releasing these recordings conjures varied feelings: a sense of exhilaration at preserving our earliest attempts at making songs as Over the Rhine, memories of that incredible insomnia (call it what you will), apprehension at letting rough mixes venture forth like children to develop lives of their own--WE NEVER INTENDED...

The first seven songs were recorded the summer of '89 in Tim's basement/garage on his mysterious 8 track. As far as we were concerned it was Montserrat. From 'If I'm Drowning' on, we borrowed an oversized Sunday School room in Oakley and recorded using an Akai 12 (!) track which we purchased second-hand with pooled and unusually limited resources. It was the summer of 1990. We were ripping handfuls of pages from post-adolescent memoirs and calling it music; post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop tp be exact. The defects in this initial body of work are ample, but (in the words of Aldous Huxley) "resisting the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse, I prefer to leave both well and ill alone and to think about something else." For example, we exist. We're alive. We could meet someday. What else really matters?

We are grateful to many. A few individuals that come to mind readily at the time of this writing are: Tim McAllister, Michael Wilson, Gerd Muller, Robin Mitchell Joyce, Karen Jean, Owen and Sandie Brock, Mike Zender, Ann"e" Oliver, Ron Esposito, Mark Keefe, Davis Debord, Mark Strine, Chris Hart, etc., etc.

Over the Rhine:
Karin Bergquist, Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Ric Hordinski, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin
Brian Kelley, Drums and Percussion
Linford Detweiler, Bass and Keyboards

Eyes Wide Open (5:05)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler
music: Hordinski and Detweiler

Someday (4:34)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler and Bergquist
music: Detweiler and Hordinski

Like A Radio (5:04)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler
music: Detweiler and Hordinski

Iron Curtain (2:48)
lyrics, melody and music: Detweiler

Cast Me Away (0:45)
lyrics and melody: Bergquist

And Can It Be (5:46)
lyrics, melody and music: Detweiler

Gentle Wounds (4:08)
lyrics: Detweiler
additional lyrics: Hordinski
melody: Hordinski
music: Hordinski and Detweiler

L.A.R. Reprise (1:05)

If I’m Drowning (4:59)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler
music: Detweiler and Hordinski

Sea And Sky (3:21)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler
music: Detweiler and Hordinski

Fly Dance (3:17)
lyrics and melody: Detweiler
music: Hordinski and Detweiler

Paul And Virginia (4:06)
lyrics, melody and music: Bergquist

Ubiquitous Hands (4:10)
lyrics, melody and music: Detweiler

The Genius Of Water (4:13)
lyrics and melody: Bergquist
music: Bergquist and Detweiler

This collection of songs co-produced, engineered and mixed by: Linford Detweiler and Tim McAllister

All Photos: Michael Wilson
Design: Zender + Associates
Notes: Linford Detweiler
Paul and Virginia in the swing.
Photogravure from a painting by Cot.
Ric and Karin play Takamine Acoustic Guitars.
Ric uses Kaman Strings.
Karin played her acoustic on "Paul and Virginia" and "The Genius of Water."
Brian leant his vocals to "Gentle Wounds" and "If I’m Drowning."

©1991 Scampering Songs A.S.C.A.P.

Seldom do members of Over the Rhine encounter the curious smiles or luminous stories of people after a concert without someone offering up the happy aside that Till We Have Faces is still their favorite Over the Rhine recording.

"Eyes wide open to the great train robbery of my soul..."

Like a first kiss, these seedling sung words out of the brand new mouth of Karin Bergquist somehow, in some small way, change everything. She plucks the young apple from the forbidden tree growing at the center of her mind's eye and opens herself wide and as if for the first time to the awakening desire to tangle in the rhyme and reason of her own redemption. This tentative act of confession, this limp of faith, this whisper sends a ripple through her own eternity and extends an implied shoestring priesthood to any woman, man or child willing to lean in and hear her out.

And from the get go, maybe this is what sets Over the Rhine apart: hopefully one gets the feeling that an Over the Rhine recording embodies more than just some unusually captivating music. Hopefully it feels like you're holding a handwritten diary of spiritual experimentation, a secret map of longing that seeks to locate and protect that aching place deep within all of us for which we have no name, a ragged photo album full of doubtful, hopeful, stumbling, joyful, trial-and-error running leaps at life itself. This music was intended to stay up till dawn wrestling with angels or to wrap a simple melody around two young lovers in a swing with equal abandon. It's a peck on the cheek one moment and happily shipwrecked sheets the next.

The raw vibrancy of Till We Have Faces sounds like it could have been captured in heaven's three car garage just yesterday. Recorded in Tim McAllister's basement and then a borrowed Sunday School room in Oakley with laughably makeshift arrangements of wires and microphones, Till We Have Faces set a standard for homespun independent releases that surprisingly is still referenced by artists and critics alike.

Songs such as Eyes Wide Open, Like A Radio, And Can It Be, If I'm Drowning, Sea and Sky, Fly Dance, Paul and Virginia and The Genius of Water are definitive mile-markers in the early landscape of the band and remarkably, garnered Over the Rhine opening slots with Bob Dylan among others, as well as invitations to headline British and European festivals. (Not to mention some of the most devoted, diverse, inquisitive, well-read, occasionally irreverent and throw-caution-to-the-wind fans in all the world. Now we wouldn't be talkin' 'bout you would we?)

Regional publications began hailing the group as band of the year, best new alternative group, the "Ohio river's best kept secret" et cetera, and MCA signed the band to their first publishing deal. (Before the ink had dried, Linford swiped his share of the money and hauled the band off to Nashville to record Patience, flying Tim McAllister in from Portland, Oregon to engineer, but that's a different story.)

Over the Rhine is the kind of band that redreams its world with every record: if you're missing one, it's like you're missing a member of the family or a key chapter in a book that's been keeping you up at night. But the real fun here is hearing Over the Rhine's first ever attempts to bring songs in for a landing. Curious? Believe me, so was the band.

Recording asides.

Karin recorded the vocals to the first half of Till We Have Faces on a Friday night and Saturday in the Spring of 1989, got up Sunday and drove back to Barnesville. Tim McAllister had the boys record the entire first half of the record once and then threw these takes out and had them start over. He informed the group that this was the plan from the beginning but never explained his reasoning. The drums and bass and a few key guitar parts if possible were recorded on Tim's half-inch eight-track analog machine. These tracks were sub-mixed to a Beta VCR and then dumped back onto the eight-track where vocals and additional parts were subsequently added. Linford sometimes played his keyboard parts live during the actual final mixdowns. Much of the reverb on the record was generated by a Roland SRV-2000 that belonged to Tim. Linford loved this reverb unit and requested that Tim bring it to all the sessions.

After recording the first half of the project, Tim McAllister moved to Portland, Oregon. Brian was the janitor at Oakley United Church of Christ and Over the Rhine set up shop there indefinitely. There were cables running down the hallways and instruments and gear strewn all about the fellowship hall. Linford, in a radical and excessive state of mind that indicated he was getting serious about this whole recording business paid $300 for a Beyer microphone. Tim flew to Cincinnati to help set up the Sunday School studio and recorded the drums and built a leaning, monolithic structure out of eggcrate mattresses and stacked furniture that was to function as Karin's vocal booth in the middle of the room across the hallway from the room that was serving as the control room. Needless to say, the church which consisted of about seventy people in their seventies eventually let Brian go and said they didn't want any bands around anymore.

Tim eventually flew in a second time and he and Linford mixed the songs in Ric's basement on Orchard street downtown in the neighborhood of Over the Rhine in Cincinnati. The plan was to eventually re-record everything properly with a label and a recording budget. These were demos. And thus begins the mixed blessing that is Over the Rhine's recording career: more often than not, their homespun collections of songs sounded too good to discard, sketchbooks passed secretly around the world friend to friend, songs as children with an uncanny knack for making a life for themselves and getting along quite fine without expensive clothing thank you very much. Or in the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

"Over the Rhine's artful approach to music has a timeless quality that defies any classification or style. Raw, experimental, charmed..."
- The Album Network

"Classic "demos" recorded on eight and 12-track machines. Smart, poetic observations on life, love and all that matters most on this fragile globe. Although Over the Rhine may be a hit away from stardom, it's this artful alternative pop group's intelligent poetry, emotionally engaging music and self-conscious creativity that bespeaks the possibility of a real breakthrough. And at the heart of these songs is an awareness and pursuit of spirituality that suggests meaning and direction without preachiness or pandering. Don't spare your heart, just feel the joy that's bleeding out of gentle wounds..."
- Brian Quincy Newcomb

"...awesomely beautiful lyrics, complex acoustic-based music, a sense of humour coupled with genuine artfulness. This record twists and floats, wraps you in its arms, smacks you 'round the face and then kisses you to make up."
- Rupert Loydell, London, England

"...impressionistic outlines of hope, fear, wonder--pure ecstacy."
- Wim Boluyt, Tholen, Holland

"...thoughtful melodies and brainy lyrics smartly sung by the all-knowing, bewitching voice of Karin Bergquist."
- Cliff Radel, Cincinnati, Ohio

"If these guys don't make it big, there's definitely something wrong with the music business."
- Factsheet Five

"I don't know whether to offer kudos or curses to Over the Rhine. No group has the right to put out albums so absolutely dominating. What's a self-respecting reviewer to do? Swallow his pride I suppose, and embarrassingly gush over such works of art.

If I could have only one album--a "Top One Desert Island Classic," Till We Have Faces would be it, without a moment's doubt. And it's been that way since my first few listens. In the past year, I've been through several month-long periods where Over the Rhine took possession of my CD player and car tape player and wouldn't let go, the selfish knaves.

In a nutshell, I simply find no album so completely sensual, touching every part of my existence. Combine its pure poetry, its spiritual joy and torment, and its romantic ideals and realism with its many colors, its surrealistic music, its restrained passion, and a captivating voice with more texture than corduroy and burlap, and what you have is pure magic.

It pains me to no end to not be able to just quote line after amazing line, but alas I can't. Bassist Linford Detweiler's lyrics and Karin Bergquist's emotive voice breathe real life, beauty, and passion into this project. Karin's lead vocals are simply exquisite, rich and emotionally seductive.

Criticisms can be made. I do think the band needs to work with a producer, and I hope they continue to grow and change. But I wouldn't want to risk going back and messing with these works. This is truly a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Art Clippings, Athens, Georgia