Letters

November 26, 2000

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

November 26, 2000

Hello from the attic,

These gray November days bathe everything in gray: my thoughts, my dreams, my world. I was talking to a friend on Thanksgiving morning after running five miles (Jim Wilson) who said he was going to try to write eight good songs by Christmas (and he was hopeful), but the hard part was finding the words. His daughter Leah told him, Writing is easy, Dad. Just close your eyes and write what you see.

Is this what I have tried to do for the last ten years? Close my eyes and write what I see? There is a line in the first song on Over the Rhine’s new feature-length album (Films For Radio) that reads, Roll the movie of my life inside of my head.

Maybe these internal worlds, these arguments won and lost on the inside without uttering a word, the vast impressionistic terrains and uncharted waters out of which epiphanies sometimes surprise us by leaping into focus, the shadowy corners of inside rooms where rays of light occasionally and unpredictably illuminate parts of us we had no idea existed–maybe these fertile places that contain everything we’ve witnessed, participated in, felt, longed for, are what we hope to uncover and rediscover when we close our eyes and pick up a pen.

(How are you? I’m fine.)

And now the mist is becoming the lightest rain, holy water sprinkled by infinite fingers above the rooftops, slicking the patient dark trees. A breeze is taking the hands of the pines gently, asking them to dance for no reason, swaying them one way or another just because.

Well, we leaned into the harness this Fall and harvested a garden of you, our faithful few: the few, the many who have supported us so generously over the last years through thick and thin.

We have a new record finished, but we have a major label now, so there is always the chance that someone important at the label will hear the record, like it more than they expected, and want to invest more into it, in which case, we’ll open it back up and play around some more, something that is not exactly a chore, but sometimes the hardest part about painting is knowing when you’ve made your last stroke.

Plan “A” is for the record to be released February 27, 2001. We’ll let you know if that changes.

You have been so patient through all of this. I hope you feel it’s worth the wait. We’ve tried some new things on this record, done some things the way we always have, tried to surprise ourselves and even Jesus a few times. I’m pretty happy with the collection of songs, I think, which I noticed the other day were pretty much all written in the first person.

There are songs by Karin. Songs by me. Songs by me and Karin. We even covered a song that sort of came out of nowhere at us that was written by Dido Armstrong. The chorus says simply:

Give me strength to find the road that’s lost in me.
Give me time to heal and build myself a dream.
Give me eyes to see the world surrounding me.
Give me strength to be
only me.

We found it strangely close to home and rather spontaneously decided to include it in this new collection. I guess I sort of see the song as a prayer of sorts, and it fit nicely right after “I Radio Heaven”. (Not to mention cross-pollinating with other bits of lyrics on the record: I don’t know who else to be, more and more I’m secretly just me.)

I’ve been asking myself what the themes of the record are and I’m not completely sure yet. There seem to be several, but one running theme seems to be about the surprising difficulties involved in telling the truth to ourselves and others. (Just thinkin’ outloud.)

Well, I better get to the other newsy bits and move along with my day. It would seem that prime time television is starting to discover Karin’s voice. A significant portion of “Latter Days” was recently included in an episode of Felicity, and “Give Me Strength” was featured on a rather intriguing episode of NBC’S Third Watch last Monday evening. Both have generated an uncommon amount of e-mail etc., which begs the question, what would happen if more people actually got a chance to hear Karin sing?

There was a very fine compilation album that Hear Music put together that is available at Starbucks which includes tracks by David Grey, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Morcheeba, Bruce Cockburn et al, as well as “All I Need is Everything” from Good Dog Bad Dog. (GDBD continues to surprise us with its ability to venture out into the world with just a suitcase full of simple recordings. To make friends, and post us interesting letters. Again, we thank you for taking such good care of this music.)

Finally, we certainly hope we will have the chance to be together in the coming weeks. We’re piling onto the bus this Tuesday night and heading west for Minneapolis. Our tour starts Wednesday and ends in NYC on December 21st (with a few breaks). Bundle up some friends and come spend an evening inside out of the cold. We’re playing some of our favorite little rooms in all of the USA. The music will be so close, you’ll be able to reach out and fill your pockets with dripping handfuls of it. We have no idea what to expect, even after all these years. That’s the beauty of all this I guess. (The world can wait.)

You can go to overtherhine.com for complete concert listings, ticket info etc. Hope to see you.

And finally, “The Homecoming Show”. (An extended evening of music. And maybe a few rabbit trails.)

Every December we try to put together a special show in our hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This year promises to be one of our favorite evenings of music in a long, long time. Critically-acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is joining us at the Taft Theater on Saturday, December 9th. If you haven’t heard Ron’s three records, the eponymous debut, followed by “Other Songs”, and then “Whereabouts”, you missed three of the most beautiful recordings of the last decade. Simply put, Ron is one of the most gifted songwriters making music today.

And as if getting one of our favorite songwriters of all time on the bill wasn’t enough of a coup, Texas pop phenomenon Sixpence None the Richer is rounding out the proceedings this year with their melodic, irresistible armload of songs and melancholy musings. We watched in amazement as Sixpence did the impossible over the course of the last few years, namely, conquering pop radio, VH-1 and late night television (not to mention airwaves all over the UK, Europe and Japan) on an independent label and on their own terms. Help us spread the word, gather some friends together, pile in the car and join us just a stone’s throw from the Ohio river for a warm evening of musical communion and a few surprises. We’ll be looking for you.

Special note: we’ll be taping Over the Rhine’s portion of the show for re-broadcast on several radio stations, and much of the evening’s proceedings could end up on a “live” cd or ep. Hope you can enjoy with us this little chapter in the band’s ongoing history. Road Trips-R-Us.

Well, I guess I’ll sign off and get back to working on those liner notes.

Still trying to create spaces where good things can happen,
your apple cart kid,

Linford Detweiler

The short version (more info at overtherhine.com):

(Don’t ask me why, but it’s our favorite time of the year to tour):

*Wednesday, November 29, Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
*Thursday, November 30, The Busted Lift (webcast), Dubuque, IA
*Friday, December 1, Pres House, Madison, WI
*Saturday, December 2, Schubas, Chicago, IL, Two shows
*Sunday, December 3, Miramar Theater, Milwaukee, WI
(We’ve never played this venue in Milwaukee, but by all reports it’s a very nice little theater in the round. Up-and-coming Ticklepenny Corner will be joining us. Higly recommended.)
*Friday, December 8, Duncan Hall, Lafayette, IN
*Saturday, December 9, Taft Theater, Cincinnati, OH
(Our homecoming concert with Sixpence None the Richer and Ron Sexsmith. Be part of our “live” audience–the show is being taped.)
*Wednesday, December 13, Lil’ Brothers, Columbus, OH
(w/Ashley Peacock. Ashley sent us a cover of Etcetera Whatever that absolutely knocked me out. Looking forward to hearing him “live” for the first time!)
*Thursday, December 14, Symposium, Cleveland, OH (w/Ashley Peacock)
*Friday, December 15, Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA, Two shows
*Saturday, December 16, The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI (w/Ashley Peacock)
*Wednesday, December 20, Rosebud, Pittsburgh, PA
*Thursday, December 21, Makor, NYC

(Almost all shows have special guests–I only mentioned a few…)

If you would be willing to put up posters to help promote the above shows, please contact Stacie BeBout at otrhine@aol.com…

Over the Rhine’s new feature-length album in fine record stores everywhere February 27, 2001.