March 3, 2004

P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212

March 3, 2004

Hello from OHIO,

We thought we’d send a long overdue update letter your way regarding the goings on here in this gently sloping orchard called Over the Rhine.

It’s not hard to believe in the idea of Spring these days. Something about the way the air smells, the light lingering longer in the evenings, the neighborhood mockingbirds reeling oblvious through their borrowed snippets of songs. (We enjoy reading that previous sentence aloud in a posh English accent.)

We hope you’re all doing well.

Karin and I are looking around as if for the first time after a much needed sabbatical. We’ve been lying low and in each others arms, basking in the small joys and victories of being at home together. We’ve talked and laughed our way through many a late night bottle of red, and Karin even after all these years, finally taught me how to make a good cup of coffee, a responsibility I’ve gladly taken on from time to time on cold crisp mornings.

We’ve also enjoyed long relaxed hours of reconnecting with family and friends that we all too often leave behind when we tour.

We adopted a companion for Willow, a Great Dane mix who goes by the name Elroy Levon. Elroy and Willow have become fast friends, growling playfully and rolling around together on the living room floor. The new boy, Elroy, has heaped a 100+ pounds of new love into the Grey Ghost mix. It has quickly become difficult to imagine our previous life without him. He’s particularly happy in the mornings and his version of tail-waggin’ is contagious. (And a little bit dangerous. He’s got a two-foot tiger tail that really gets to whippin’.) The dogs get us out of the house for air in the mornings and evenings (a good thing). When they run, it reminds us that it is good to do what we were born to do. (We’ll post some pictures of Elroy soon. We like to describe him as a cross between a Holstein and man’s best friend.)

Karin and I have been taking a new look at these days and dreaming aloud about the years ahead of us. We know we want to love each other real good, to truly grow together and put down deep roots. We want to sit on the front porch together many years down the road and reminisce about all this and laugh alot.

We know we want to continue to write and record–our project list is criss-crossed with notes and scribbles.

We know we want to start a family.

We know we want to continue to perform–it’s a part of our lives which continues to be mysteriously life-giving. (And we miss all of you when too many days go by without making some kind of lovely ruckus together.)

We know we want to spend more time working together at home.

We know we want to control the squirrel population in the back yard. (Thank God for catch and release traps.) We should never have brought Joe Henry home.

We know we need to paint the kitchen.

We’re a little unsure how to fit all of this together sometimes into a life that’s deeply nurturing yet spontaneous, rooted in community, yet adventurous. We’re looking for a rhythm. We long for wisdom and grace.

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your encouragement, your creativity, your prayers and thoughts as Karin and I took this much needed time to be together, alone. (You sent drawings, cards, flowers, GDBD dog bowls (!), dessert wine, notes, letters, many tiny gifts. You sent your prayers. They were heard.)

OHIO, this here double album, our latest, has been a good roller coaster ride. It’s kicked up a fair bit of dust on the back roads of the music industry. We immensely enjoyed seeing all of you last December on our annual Christmas Tour. (Check out the MP-3 of the month at overtherhine.com!)

The listeners of our home town AAA station (WNKU 89.7fm) voted OHIO number one for 2003, and CityBeat, our arts and entertainment weekly, inducted Over the Rhine into the Cincinnati Music Hall of Fame. (Twenty years too early.) But most importantly, we feel we made the record we needed to make. We are happy that so many of you seem to enjoy these new songs.

Believe it or not (typical artists) we’re thinking a lot about our next record already. Stay tuned.

We’re planning on many updates to the website this year, and (long-time-comin’) we’ve now brought a message board to overtherhine.com. We’re not letting go of our e-mail discussion list, but we feel the message board is a logical progression and will make it easier for Karin and I to participate in this on-line community that has grown over the years. There will be a link on the home page soon, but if you want to join and participate immediately, go to overtherhine.com/orchard, and have at it! We look forward to hearing from you.

(Thanks to Drew Vogel for getting this up and running for us. And thanks again to Eric King for his webmaster ways. Congratulations to the Kings on the birth of their fourth (leap year) child, Anton Michael, on February 29th!)

As for touring, we were planning on heading out to the West Coast for a few weeks of dates this Spring, but we’ve decided to hold off for a number of reasons. (And sorry about the February Los Angeles concert. We were supposed to be part of the filming of a pilot television show, but that was postponed, so we had to lay low.) If we don’t get to the West Coast soon, maybe we can do some Christmas shows in December and get caught up with all of you. It’s been too long.

Look for a few intimate concerts mostly close to home in coming months, (we may ask you to do most of the traveling for awhile) and a few festival appearances when the weather gets a bit warmer. (As per usual, stay tuned for specifics at overtherhine.com.)

I have a new instrumental record completed that we’ll be making available through the website soon. It’s called, Unspoken Requests.

(Nursing mothers, loosen your blouses…)

Well, we think of you all often. We thank you for giving this music a home, for listening so well for so long.

Keep in touch,

Linford and Karin