Letters

July 15, 2009

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OVER THE RHINE
P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212

July 15, 2009

Hello friends and extended musical family,

It’s been a beautiful summer so far. Hope you’re enjoying it.

I woke up at 7:15 and gave everything in the vegetable garden a drink.
Karin watered all of her flowerbeds last night.

We’ve been eating cucumber salads and making pesto and last week we took
two laundry baskets full of zucchini and crook neck squash to the
orchestra rehearsals. (Karin felt that there was no better ice-breaker
than a big green zucchini.) The players snatched them up and later in
the week we heard all about zucchini brownies, zucchini on the grill,
zucchini bread.

I had hoped that maybe a baritone sax player or a valve trombone player
would slip a zucchini into the bell of their horn for a mute at some
point, but I did not see that.

Karin and I have been talking about writing a collection of garden
poems, somewhat erotic in nature, called, The Illicit Zucchini.

Not sure where we’re going with it, but I have made a mental note that
zucchini rhymes nicely with bikini.

I remember wondering aloud after we had our first garden out here about
whether the church had missed a sin. The pleasure of cupping ones hand
around the smooth underbelly of a vine-ripened tomato is about as blood
red sensual as it gets. Yep, they might have forgotten to forbid that
one.

But actually we’ve gravitated mostly toward yellow tomatoes. They’re

full of flavor, less acidic. I feel like I’m in the act of eating
something golden, nectar filled, something the ancient Greeks would have
passed around on a platter.

People ask us what we grow on the farm. Well, songs, of course, first
and foremost. And Karin’s flowers. And a large vegetable and herb
garden. We tame our once-neglected farm by cutting meandering paths just
about everywhere. But we leave the edges wild with weeds: thistle,
milkweed, dogbane, golden rod, inkberries, red clover, Virginia creeper.
I scribbled this recently in a poem I was working on about my father:

Let the songbirds have thorny hidden places for their wild melodies.

Yes, the songbirds do seem to appreciate the untamed edges of the world.
This morning Elroy and I startled about two dozen bobwhite quail on the
back paths. They exploded into flight and then coasted low and away
toward the edge of the farm. Sometimes an indigo bunting will leave a
streak in the air so blue you can close your eyes and still see it for
days.

And we love to watch the native saplings reclaim their rightful places:
the red maple, black locust, black cherry, persimmon… the tupelo, ash,
elm, cedar… hackberry, mulberry, silver maple, pin oak…

When the sun goes down, you might see me out walking after dark, feeling
the coolness along the edges of the trees, the open air above our meadow
full of clover. 0A Slowly the land is revealing itself to us.

Yes.

**

Well, big thanks to all of you who came and found us in the hills high
above the Ohio River last Saturday evening. I thought the orchestra
sounded amazing, and it’s a thrill to play with an orchestra – a rare
gift for a songwriter. It had rained on and off for much of the day and
we had just about written off the whole thing at one point, but lo and
behold the clouds parted just in time, the air cooled and a beautiful
evening emerged. I was a little more nervous than usual, but I think it
all came together beautifully. Thanks for being there. (If you think all
the previous vegetable ramblings were risqué, try reading the lyrics to
Afternoon Delight sometime, let alone singing it with a straight face.
We’ll have to see if the recording turned out.)

Yes, it is still the 20th Anniversary of Over the Rhine, and we still do
have a few 20th Anniversary aces up our sleeves.

So here goes:

The Trumpet Child Deluxe Songbook

I think probably more than any other question over the years, we have
been repeatedly asked, When will there be sheet music available for Over
the Rhine’s music?? Well after 20 years, we are finally taking you
seriously. We now have our first OtR songbook!

We started with all the songs on The Trumpet Child, and by the time we
added all the extras, we were holding a 126 page book packed full of
music and various surprises. Whether or not you intend to actually play
the notes (which we carefully edited at our home piano here on the farm)
we think you might like this keepsake of sorts, which documents
profusely the most recent musical chapter of Over the Rhine. Yes, it’s
got the piano music, guitar chords, lyrics, photos, a rambling essay by
yours truly, playful performance notes and more. Pick up your copy now
at OvertheRhine.com… and let us know what you think.

(Special thanks to Michael Wilson, Bill Ivester and The Brothers Wright
for the many photographs. And thanks to John, Casey and Andy at our
publishing company for helping make it all happen!)

Live From Nowhere Volume Four

Wow. Number four in this series already?

Volume One focused mostly on the Drunkard’s Prayer tour featuring Devon
Ashley on drums, Rick Plant on guitar and bass, Byron House on upright
bass and Kim Taylor singing harmonies and playing acoustic guitar. (Now
available digitally only.)

Volume Two saw the line-up of the band evolve to include Mickey Grimm on
drums and percussion and Jake Bradley on upright bass and guitar, and
this collection prominently features the playing of special guest and
Cincinnati treasure, Paul Patterson. (A handful of unsigned CD’s still
remain, because we realized we missed a box. Also available digitally.)

Volume Three was al l about The Trumpet Child, but includes some
performances from the Ani DiFranco tour, when we opened the shows as an
acoustic trio. Hear producer Brad Jones, Mickey Grimm, Jake Bradley and
Paul Patterson work their magic on the band’s most recent songs. Volume
Three was recorded live and mixed from beginning to end by Juicy
himself. (A limited number of CD’s still available.)

Which brings us to Volume Four, the current installment!

We had so much to choose from for Volume Four, but we realized, before
the moment passed, that we really needed to dedicate this edition to the
special reunion concert that took place with Ric Hordinski and Brian
Kelley (and many talented friends) on Friday night, December 19, 2008,
at the Taft Theater. We turned up the amps and even Karin broke out her
electric guitar as we revisited the recordings from the first decade of
Over the Rhine.

What can I say? It was electric fun, a truly memorable evening in all
the best ways, and we tried our best to bottle the experience for you.
It took TWO CD’S, and a 20-page booklet, and a special package, but we
got it done. Paul Mahern (producer of OHIO and Drunkard’s Prayer) helped
us get Volume Four all put together and sounding good (before he flew
off to work with T-Bone Burnett).

We’ll have the CD’s in 2-3 weeks, and they’ll ship as soon as they
arrive. If you pre-order your copy now, you can download all the
music immediately and dive in. Let us know what you think.

Here is the track listing:

Over the Rhine LIVE FROM NOWHERE Volume Four

20th Anniversary Reunion Concert Decade One
TWO CD’S – LIMITED EDITION

DISC ONE

1. Eyes Wide Open
2. How Does It Feel (To Be On My Mind)
3. HDIF Reprise 
4. Within Without 
5. Like A Radio 
6. Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander 
7. June 
8. Circle Of Quiet 
9. Daddy Untwisted

DISC TWO

1. Paul And Virginia 
2. Poughkeepsie 
3. Faithfully Dangerous 
4. A Gospel Number 
5. All I Need Is Everything 
6. If I’m Drowning 
7. I Painted My Name
8. Latter Days

Recorded Live, Friday, December 19, 2008 at The Taft Theatre in
Cincinnati, Ohio.

The exciting thing about Volume Four is that many of these songs evolved
significantly in concert from the original recordings and were never
before released. So it feels like Volume Four fills a significant gap in
our musical journey thus far. (If you’re new to the band, maybe these
recordings will make you curious about our first handful of records:
Till We Have Faces, Patience, eve and Good Dog Bad Dog. If so, don’t be
shy.)

Again, pre-order your copy now at OvertheRhine.com, and you can download
the music on both discs immediately. Hope you like!

And finally, we have quite a f ew concert dates in the coming weeks and
months: Albuquerque, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Omaha, Kansas City, St.
Louis, Bloomington, IN, Louisville, Lexington, Milwaukee, Madison,
Minneapolis, SLC, The West Coast etc etc. (Please check out
OvertheRhine.com for details and tickets.)

Finally, we wanted to especially make you aware of one of our hometown
faves:

Friday, September 11, 2009: An evening with Over the Rhine at Coney
Island Moonlite Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio. Join us by the Ohio River
in this beautiful, historic venue and bring the family. Hope to see you
under the stars.

Well, that’s about all the news I can fit into the usual four pages.

Twenty years folks. We thank you.

Whaddya say we do something good in the next twenty? We’ve got some
ideas.

Love from Nowhere,

Linford and Karin

PS Pls pass this letter around to the usual suspects. Print it out,
climb a tulip tree and wave it at passing cars. Tweet key phrases.
Scribble excerpts in the margins of your biology textbook. Cross-stitch
a paragraph on a porch swing pillow. Tattoo a phrase or two on a
smooth-skinned limb. And my personal favorite: line the birdcage with
multiple copies and let the white doves crap all night long.