August 16, 2010

P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212

August 16, 2010

Over the Rhine, Update, THE LONG SURRENDER,
September Concerts, Conversations on a Musical Train

Hello friends,

If you knew how many times I have sat at my desk to start a letter to you all, you would laugh. Sometimes life is too big to write down, too saturated with significance, too sad, too happy, too much.

The truth is, I could have written many different letters, all too long. Scraps of them surround me here and there in the piano room, like a patchwork quilt that unraveled.

I have written about our time with Joe Henry and the amazing musicians he gathered in South Pasadena. The time we spent recording THE LONG SURRENDER, our yet-to-be-released new offering of Over the Rhine songs, how it felt like Joe put everything on a train, all the surprising things we saw out the windows as we rolled through the night, the rumble and the rhythm.

(Or did Joe put the songs out to sea? It did feel like something hard to quantify was captured. We had to hit the lifeboats a few times, but yes, Joe got us all somehow safely back to shore, grinning.)

Suffice it to say we are anxious to share the music with you, and maybe you can help us describe what happened after you hear for yourself.

THE LONG SURRENDER is being mastered this week. (We thought we had it awhile back but then realized we were still in the hunt. A few final touches still to go.) We are busy, busy getting it all dressed up and ready to let go in the world. The official release date is 1/11/11, but of course there will be plenty of foreshadowing along the way, and those of you who pitched in to make it all happen will hear it much sooner.

We are grateful to all of you and grateful to be (almost) holding the record we couldn’t imagine in advance, the seams blown out of the songs, the roof blown off the house of our catalog, only the sky above.

And I have written about my Uncle Rudy passing away, my uncle who as a boy, hid an acoustic guitar in the haymow of the barn, and a secret accordion under the horses’ manger. How my brother Myron and I drove to Northeast Ohio to pay our respects and discovered after we had signed the register and sent our flowers on ahead to be placed by the casket that we had arrived at the wrong funeral. (How Uncle Rudy would have laughed!) We eventually found the right church, passing Amish buggies along the way. My cousin William took our breath away because he looked so much like my father it was like seeing a vision. And finally, as we were walking out into the evening air to drive home, I noticed the barn swallows were flying, flying in circles and figure eights above the roof of the wooden church where Rudy lay, darting back and forth and round and round as if they loved the feel of whatever it was they were slicing with their wings.

Something felt good on their wings.

I have written about being asked to deliver my first college commencement address in Eugene, Oregon, and of the short trip down the coast we took afterwards to touch base with Karin’s side of the family, staying up late with her Aunt Nor in the kitchen, looking at old black and white photographs and hearing the old family stories, gathering around the piano to sing some harmonies, reconnecting with Karin’s sister Rose, and my sister Frances and their families, and of course, many of the Swedish, San Francisco cousins.

I have written about saying goodbye to our (great) Great Dane, Elroy, our intuitive, beautiful companion, our very own Great Speckled Dog, the few-thousand-plus walks we took together over the years, that quiet communion and deep connection. We miss him. Karin had always prayed that we would be home when Elroy’s time came, and somehow that prayer was answered. We were able to say, Goodbye. Thank You.

I have written about our recent trip to Santa Fe and the weeklong songwriting workshop Karin and I lead there, the other writers and poets and painters we have come to call friends because of The Glen Workshop, how we learn from our students, the small miracles we witness there throughout the week. (And thanks to all who welcomed Karin and I at our performances in Albuquerque. New Mexico has become a very special part of the world to us. More a little further down on the train ride we have planned in that part of the world.)

Yes, I have run out of space in these letters to say what I need to say. I need to begin thinking about the pages of a book or two to make room for more. A place with a little more elbow room where I’m not imposing…

Know that we think of all of you often, and look forward to some face time hopefully soon.

Yes, we do want to catch you up on some specific Over the Rhine news. We are preparing to air out songs new and old, engage in a little evening conversation, be surprised by laughter.

We hope we can be together.

Love from Nowhere,

Linford and Karin


Sept 4, Saturday, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, FOUR CORNERS FOLK FESTIVAL

Sept 5, Sunday, Denver, Colorado, SOILED DOVE
Sept 7, Tuesday, Omaha, Nebraska, THE WAITING ROOM
Sept 8, Wednesday, Kansas City, Missouri, CROSSTOWN STATION

Sept 10, Friday, Nashville, Tennessee, MERCY LOUNGE (as part of Americana Music Festival, wrist band required)


Sept 11, Saturday, Cincinnati, Ohio, CONEY ISLAND MOONLIGHT GARDENS. Join Over the Rhine down by the Ohio River in this lovely, hometown, historic setting, one of our all-time favorites, as we bid farewell to summer under the stars with an extended evening of songs, accompanied by an orchestra of cicadas, crickets and katydids.


Sept 16, Thursday, New York City, New York, CITY WINERY
Sept 17, Friday, Philadelphia, Pennsylania, WORLD CAF´┐Ż LIVE
Sept 18, Saturday, Centreville, Virginia, VIRGINIA WINE FESTIVAL
Sept 19, Sunday, Centreville, Virginia, VIRGINIA WINE FESTIVAL

(More dates listed at OvertheRhine.com)



(We’ll be sending out a few more official notices RE the following, but wanted to give you the jump while the paint is still fresh…)

November 5-10, 2010

We have finalized the line-up for our musical train ride in November!

In an extravagant gesture, in an attempt to do something hopefully unforgettable, we are gathering some of our favorite people together and putting them on a train through the sacred spaces of the American Southwest. We are going to pour a glass of something good, and watch you fall in love. There will be music and conversation and much more. We will hop off the train in Santa Fe and explore, we will eventually even peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon – take that elusive family vacation together.

There are 45 total tickets available. We hope you can join us. (The train leaves from Los Angeles. Check out OvertheRhine.com for more.)


OVER THE RHINE – We (Karin, Linford, Jake Bradley, Kenny Hutson, and our very own surprise guest, drummer and percussionist, Mickey Grimm) will be playing concerts throughout the trip, raising glasses to and with our friends (old and new), and watching some of our favorite parts of the world go by…

SWAN DIVE – Songwriters, Bill DeMain and Molly Felder, (and Molly’s husband, Mickey Grimm) will delight you with their harmonies and beautifully-crafted pop songs. Bill and Molly have performed and collaborated with many of Nashville’s most gifted. You will soon come to appreciate their generosity as both musicians and curious human beings… (swandive.org)

LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE – Lucy grew up in Greenwich Village, New York City, the daughter of Suzzy Roche of The Roches and Loudon Wainwright III. Her childhood was spent living out of a suitcase, either on the road with her parents or being ferried around to different relatives in her big musical clan – one of the most storied musical families in North America.

We have had the privilege of touring with and getting to know Lucy. We love her songs, her clear-as-a-bell voice, her instinct for a great story, and her unforgettable sense of humor. You will too. (www.myspace.com/lwrlwr)

MICHAEL WILSON – is an American photographer and music lover who has photographed a wide array of songwriters and artists – Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris, BB King, Andy Warhol, Joe Henry, Randy Newman – and many, many others. His photographs have figured prominently throughout Over the Rhine’s recorded catalog, and Karin and Linford have cited Michael as one of their most important influences, musical and otherwise. Michael will be presenting his work throughout the week and has generously agreed to make individual portraits of all who board the train – an amazing keepsake. Those interested will also have the chance to hop off the train at various times, cameras in hand, and make photographs with Michael. (michaelwilsonphotographer.com)

LYNN NEAL – It just so happens that our naturalist on board, who will be available to illuminate much of what we’re seeing, answer questions, provide some historical context etc is a Barnesville High School graduate from Barnesville, Ohio, and former classmate and friend of Karin’s. Lynn now resides and works and conducts research in Arizona, and has a contagious, memorable sense of humor as well. We’re so happy it worked out for her to ride along.

MICKEY GRIMM – Mickey deserves his own category. He recorded and toured with Over the Rhine the last several years, but has recently gone into semi-retirement to be able to spend more time with his family in New Harmony, Indiana. Few people have made us laugh more than Mickey – and we realized we had to get him on board so that all could experience his storytelling and flare for the colorful and absurd. Not to mention general sweetness and considerable talents.

This ride is a lot to pull off, and a little bit crazy, frankly, in a hopefully beautiful way – but if you’re willing, we think it has the potential to be quite amazing. (Much like life itself.) Hope to see you.

Again, check out OvertheRhine.com for more. (And more updates soon.)

Whew. I think that’s about it for this one.



PS Please share the above with friends and family near and far, print out the pages and wrap fish and chips in it, line the soles of a vintage pair of cowboy boots with the words, read excerpts over a cell phone discreetly on a rattling street car, tweet your sweet, slip a rain-soaked copy into a Methodist hymnal or a New York Times, and finally, our favorite, line the bird cage with the pages and let the white doves crap all night long.