November 21, 2002
P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212
The towering oak tree in the corner of our backyard has been messing with me. I know that many oaks are funny about their leaves. The black walnut is bare. The sycamore across the street is newly white-limbed. The lilac bush is nothing but nude. The catalpas in the park are up to their knees in heart-shaped leaves.
Twice I’ve made peace with the tree. I know you’re going to keep a good number of those leaves, I say, especially in your uppermost branches, until next spring. That’s fine by me.
Twice I’ve raked our yard front and back bare as a swept rug. The piles of leaves go into my box, I empty the box into the areas we’re mulching thick into a soft springy bed of sweet-smelling autumn.
But inevitably, the morning after, here they come. A steady sprinkle, not a lot, just enough to un-rake the yard little by little. A sort of brown manna from above. On the porch, on the grass, on the car–every single leaf an oak leaf from the oak in the corner of our backyard.
Some of these late leaves spin down shyly within a few feet of the base of the tree. Others catch some unseen current and careen over the top of the house and disappear from view. Some leaves write their names jaggedly all over the air with a sort of strange cursive. You can almost imagine them tracing the outline of some wild music just beyond our reach. They come a few at a time, and the remaining leaves peer down and rattle their breezy, brittle, leathery applause.
I’m going to have to rake the yard again sometime around Thanksgiving.
I wanted to say thanks to those of you who purchased a copy of my first book, Unsung. We printed a first signed and numbered edition of 500. We did a second edition of 500 because many of you who had missed the pre-sale asked about getting a copy. The second edition has been disbursed. The hand-set lead type has been dumped out, the ligatures have been returned to their special compartment, there is no more book.
But thanks to all of you for making my first attempt a good experience. Those words were initially written as the introduction to a much longer piece, so who knows, maybe there will be more somewhere down the line. Special thanks to Larkspur Press and Gray Zeitz for doing such beautiful work on the printing and binding, and to Jay Bolotin for the woodcuts.
(I have the pale curtains drawn, but it’s sunny and the falling oak leaves trickle shadows across the second-story windows as if to say, We know you’re in there Mr. Detweiler, with that rake of yours. You can close the curtain, but the show goes on.)
We’re gearing up for more concerts. Karin and I got to see a lot of color this fall with trips across Pennsylvania and Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. Scientists explain why sap rises, but they do not know why sap rises.
We’ll be heading to Ann Arbor this Saturday (November 23rd) for a show at The Ark, a listening room with a lot of history connected to it. We’d love to see you if you can join us. Jason Dennie, a favorite, will be opening.
And our Christmas tour approaches quickly. We’re going to try something a little different this year. Maybe we’ll just leave it at that for now, let you come in out of the cold to a warm room soon-to-be-filled-with-music. Maybe we’ll rediscover each other. We’re very happy about Bill Mallonee from Athens, GA joining us for these dates:
FRI 12/6 CINCINNATI, OH Taft Theatre
SAT 12/7 CHICAGO, IL Schuba’s (two shows)
TUE 12/10 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom
THU 12/12 BOSTON, MA House of Blues
FRI 12/13 NORTHAMPTON, MA Iron Horse
SAT 12/14 NEW YORK, NY Makor (two shows)
SUN 12/15 PHILADELPHIA, PA The Point (two shows)
Learn more as per usual at overtherhine.com.
There has been talk of Over the Rhine doing a DVD project. The Taft show in Cincinnati will be filmed/taped this year, and the Minneapolis-based producer/director that we’re working with would like to interview fans before (and possibly after) the show. If you’re interested in being interviewed, drop Kris a note:
Kris asked us to mention that the interview questions will be along the lines of: “Describe Over the Rhine’s music in a few phrases (What happens when you listen, what do you see, feel…)” Talk about a song that has relevance in your life or an experience when the music of OtR affected you in some way
And there will be other questions, unpredictable and spontaneous. Big questions, little questions. Mid-sized questions.
This project will hopefully continue throughout the coming year, and will document some of the making of the records that we’re currently working on, but December 6th will be the first real footage shot. We’re anxious to see some of your faces and hear your stories.
There are two charities that will be involved this year with our hometown show on December 6th at The Taft. The first is The Inclusion Network. They will be selling the King Records Tribute CD, Hidden Treasures, which benefits the work they do on behalf of the disabled in our community.
The second charity is the Battered Women’s Shelter at the Cincinnati YWCA. Karin has been discovering this organization and has been nothing but impressed with their work. Here’s where you can help. Make a note, if you can, to bring a little something along to the show to bless women and children this Christmas that are recovering from difficult family circumstances. Here is a very practical “wish-list” that the shelter has provided us with:
Paper products (paper towels, tp etc)
Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, deoderant)
Combs and Brushes
If you’d like to make a donation to the shelter, you can bring a check made out to the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter. Thanks for joining us in trying to spread a little love… (www.ywcacincinnati.org)
Finally, we need two volunteers to help sell merch for these upcoming shows (including this wknd in Ann Arbor)! Volunteers receive a free ticket to the concert and a free cd afterward. If you’re interested, please e-mail Blair Woods asap. (BigWalkUp@aol.com) (Thanks!)
Well, that’s about it for now. It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us. Here’s hoping that you discover something real this year, off the beaten path.
Linford Detweiler for Over the Rhine
ps We’ve realized that our office fax and phones have been under the weather. Sorry about that. We’re working on it. If you need to reach us, try firstname.lastname@example.org.