June 3, 2001
P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212
I’m stealing a rare moment at home in the attic of the Grey Ghost to write this brief letter of thanks, and to let you know a little of what the rest of the year holds for us.
First of all, to those of you who joined us at any of the 50 or so concerts we just completed, Thank you! Thanks for giving us the best tour we’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing. It only ended yesterday, and it already begins to feel surreal, like a distant dream. You have taught us how drowning works.
Metaphors aside, we continue to be blessed with some of the warmest, most encouraging fans/followers/friends of just about any band going. We appreciate all you’ve done for us, and for allowing us to continue making music and recordings for over ten years, whether or not the mainstream media was aware of us, diligently raising the pop music flag high over the Ohio River.
The garden is growing these days, and we’ve been working very hard. (Or is this an exhausting form of play, the sort of thing that made us flop down smiling as children, lungs heaving, staring at the sky while we caught our breath, lost in the sculpture of clouds?) We’ve been home now for less than 24 hours (after being away for much of the last few months), and in a few hours Karin and I are flying to Paris. We’ve never been there, and we get a day off to rest and walk around before we begin doing interviews and “promotion”. Then we travel to Brussels for more radio and press, then Cologne, then Amsterdam, then back to Paris. We got to sleep in our own bed for one night last night, and because it was only one night, Willow was under the covers with us like a smiling, seventy pound mole.
It’s exhausting to write this at the moment, but we’ll be joining the Cowboy Junkies later this Fall (late October thru late November) for an extensive tour of Europe. Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, France, etc–so many places where Over the Rhine has never had the occasion to go “sur le Rhin”. We’ll post the dates soon, and we’re looking forward to getting to meet those of you who have faithfully written for years, asking when we might visit your country. We’ll be opening for the Junkies as a trio, and then sitting in with them again–should be great fun, and an eye opening trip. We hope to take the full band to Europe next Spring.
We’re planning a special tour again for this December back in the USA, and there will be scattered appearances over the summer, as well as another jaunt out to the West Coast this Fall in one of those Prevost tour buses that we’ve come to think of as home away from home. So hopefully we’ll see more of you. But thanks again for all your support of Over the Rhine. You’ve enabled us to do what we dreamed of doing.
Good things have been happening with Films For Radio. The album was embraced by AAA Radio across the country, entering the top 5 of many stations’ playlists. Virgin/Backporch is going to begin working on other formats over the summer. We’ll see what happens with this complex little collection of home movies. Stay tuned. We may never run with the popular crowd at school, but it feels as if we are uncovering a secret world.
Finally, just for fun. Several literary magazines and publications have in recent months approached me about the possibility of contributing some of my writing to upcoming issues. I was thrilled to contribute part of a memoir to a journal that I’ve subscribed to for years called Image. (The issue will be coming out later this year. We’ll post more info on this and the other publications at overtherhine.com.)
Writing is something that has interested me immensely, and writing is the reason I became a songwriter. After studying piano in college, writing a handful of songs and starting a band was the only option open to me where I could conceivably play around with words for a living. I felt it was the only serious choice at the time.
I didn’t really understand why critics from the beginning referred to the music of Over the Rhine as literate, poetic, full of the “wine dark sparkle of inspired phrase”… We were initially described as quite “bookish” and so on and so forth. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was a writer trapped in a songwriter’s body. Maybe it was because I dreamed of writing. Maybe I was cramming that longing into the lines of my songs.
Anyway, what’s my point? Along with music, I hope to pursue writing with just about everything I can muster in the coming years. But it has occurred to me that as I enter the world of editors and publishers and begin to think seriously about writing, I will inevitably “lose my innocence” in regard to the craft of writing. I will be increasingly forced to think about what I am doing, rather than just writing because I felt the impulse, because I had to to make sense of this life I was given and the world I found myself lost in, because I insisted on opening my eyes and paying attention.
Before that inevitable loss, which happens whenever we begin to pursue something we love, I’m going to weed through some of what I wrote in the last decade while I was still only discovering I was a writer, and collect it into a book that can serve as a document of what I was writing before I knew what I was doing. Before I had the audacity, the hubris, the nerve, the insanity to think of myself as a “writer”. Before it occurred to me, as one writer put it, that I should turn joy into cash!
Well, many of you have asked me when I was going to publish my first book, and I have an answer now: July. The working title for the collection is, Close Enough to Share One Spine. And I’m also going to put the finishing touches on a new collection of solo piano recordings, (Lord willing, I can hear my father say) tentatively called, A Book of Matches and A Satellite Dish. This too will be available in July, but the title might change. A Book of Matches and A Reel to Reel is an option. Also, Michael Wilson has the following great line in one of his books: “hymntime in the land of abandon”. But I’d have to check with not only Michael, (who was generous enough to leave the words “I Don’t Think There’s No Need to Bring Nothin'” on our answering machine), (part of an invitation to dinner), but also Jeff Bell, who wanted to use Hymntime in the Land of Abandon as the title for one of his screenplays.)
We’re still working on the title. What It Takes To Please You is no longer available, so it’s tough.
As we are prone to do in the Imaginary Apple Orchard, we’re going to run one of those red (delicious) light specials and allow the faithful few to reserve signed and numbered copies of these labors of love in advance.
For those of you interested in copies of the book *and* the new piano cd, this is Stacie’s pre-order special: $25 includes shipping and handling for copies of both the book and the cd after they arrive hot off the presses in July. Those of you interested in one or the other (or neither) can order (or not) later in July after they are added to the catalog. The cost will be $15 each plus shipping and handling at that time. (Office note: to clarify, the special is only for those interested in pre-ordering signed and numbered copies of both the book and the cd.)
To place your pre-order, you can call Stacie between 10am and 5pm EST, Monday thru Friday at the Over the Rhine office, fax your order with shipping and credit card info to 513.731.9668, or go to overtherhine.com. Our wise webmaster will be posting info soon on how to take advantage of the July fireworks via secured server.
Thanks again everyone for keeping abreast with us on this “troubled sea that we sail for free”. We hope your lives will grow increasingly vivid and rewarding. Keep in touch and we hope to see you soon,