Letters

October 10, 2001

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

October 10, 2001

Hey folks,

It’s Linford here with a quick update for you all.

First, Karin sends her thanks for the heartfelt words of encouragement that so many of you took time to send regarding her mother’s health. They meant more than you know. Look for a longer update from Karin as things continue to progress. Karin’s mother is still trying to regain her speech and the use of the right side of her body, following the brain hemmorhage, but she is in stable condition, and continues to make tiny improvements. She has been transferred to Cincinnati, and it has been a very difficult time, but we continue to hope for the best. Immense thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.

I did do some touring with Cowboy Junkies in September in order to help pay a few band bills, but I was home just in time to celebrate wedding anniversary numero five. So in spite of a lot of what’s been happening, life has had its good moments during these blustery October days. Indian summer. Crows gathering in the trees.

We were deeply saddened and of course stunned by the tragic events that unfolded in NYC, Washington DC and Pennsylvania on September 11. Like so many artists and musicians, we were at a loss for words. We too had to ask ourselves, What place does art and music have in times like these?

Our hope is that we can somehow participate in tiny redemptive acts in the coming months and years, that may (even if in ways embarrassingly small) help to heal this broken world of ours. When any of us encounters beauty, we subconsciously dream of a more perfect world, the door is flung wide on new possibilities that we can’t yet imagine, we breathe more deeply and wonder if we have more to offer than we know. Although I couldn’t imagine making my own music for quite some time after September 11, the music of others held me at times and was a comfort somehow.

While our government launches the bombing campaign in Afghanistan, we are troubled by many conflicting feelings. My heritage is one of pacificism, but it seems presumptuous to wax eloquent about loving one’s enemies when I enjoy the relative safety and prosperity of a land well-guarded. It is the duty of governments, I suppose, to protect themselves and their people. I do believe if the men flying those planes on the 11th could have killed 5,000,000 instead of 5000 they would have done so. It’s unsettling to know that there are people who would happily eradicate Western Civilization. And yet as we start blowing things up in Afghanistan, it is inevitably the poor who will suffer, families huddled along the sides of roads, and it just feels so damn archaic somehow. With all the intelligence and resources that we have available to us, couldn’t we help the world invent a different way? And yet it seems there are many (even in Washington) who are struggling to see the big picture.

Well, I’m sure you’ve all been thinking some of these same things. As usual when it comes to things that matter, there are no easy answers. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.

Moving on to things Over the Rhine for the time being, again, in spite of everything, we are going to go forward with our tour of Europe. We feel it’s the right thing to do, and we will have the opportunity to introduce our music (God willing) to thousands of new people. Hopefully our guardian angels will have a relatively uneventful trip apart from a lot of sightseeing and some unusually inspired music.

And finally, I have another update on my book project. We had to cancel about 30 shows recently to deal with a family crisis, and I was left with a book project that I suddenly couldn’t pay for. I pulled the plug on plan “A”. In the meanwhile, I was absolutely delighted and surprised when a small press in Kentucky that I have admired from a distance for years, offered to print a limited run of my project. Larkspur Press has been making beautiful, handmade, letterpress books, and chapbooks for years. I had purchased several of their editions of Wendell Berry poems or short stories, and had always thrilled to see their commitment to fine bookmaking. I’ll be meeting with them later this year, and I can’t believe my luck, frankly, that they are willing to be involved.

Now the thing is, they are all Luddites at heart down at Larkspur, and they warned me that they don’t pay attention to deadlines. All they would commit to is getting me my book sometime next year! I, for one, am willing to wait, and eager to see the result of their efforts, whenever that may be.

Karin asked me the other night how many had pre-ordered my book during the little special we ran back in June. I said, Oh, about 250 people. She said, That’s definitely enough for an angry mob.

Well put.

Here is where we are: This book is going to be limited to a run of 500 copies. If you pre-ordered one last June, some time next year you will receive your signed and numbered Larkspur Press edition. If you would like to get your money back because of the delay, just e-mail Stacie at otrhine@aol.com, and she will send you a check for $15.00 and take you off the list.

I’m guessing that, at the end of the day, most people won’t mind waiting, so let’s assume that 250 are spoken for. I would like to give 100 to family and friends, so that leaves 150 that are still available. These will sell for $15 plus $3 shipping, and we will be putting them up on the website catalog soon. If you would like to reserve a copy, you can do so while they last. Because there are a limited number, I’ll go ahead and sign and number these as well.

(For those that pre-ordered, to buy Grey Ghost Stories and the book separately costs $36 with shipping, so you saved $11. We do apologize for the change in plans.)

And last but not least, after an unforeseen two month break, we are thrilled to be doing a few intimate shows this wknd. Friday, we’re playing at Brady’s in Kent, Ohio, and Saturday, we’re playing in the tiny town of Dalton, Ohio, a stone’s throw from Kidron, which is more or less in the heart of Amish country. You can catch the Amish flea market and cattle auction during the day in Kidron, buy a few heifers to feed over the winter, and then hear our own unique brand of sorrow and love flowing mingled down that evening in Dalton. It’s part of a new concept we’re working on: weekend getaways with

Over the Rhine. Wonder of wonders, my parents will be attending this show. Anything could happen.

(Brady’s is the sort of warm, glowing establishment that Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry would have loved after several days of tiresome trekking.)

Go to overtherhine.com for all the pertinent info. We hope to see you.

Until then, be brave and free and inspired,

Linford Detweiler for Over the Rhine