October 29, 2009

P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212

October 29, 2009

Hello friends,

Clouds of leaves were fluttering down this morning in the breezy fall sun. The normally contemplative cattle dog began barking at the wind, challenging the change in the weather. He runs back and forth along the three-board fence for the sheer pleasure of it, restless with nameless joy. It’s supposed to get up to 70 degrees today. Yes, Ohio has its moments.


You forget sometimes how it feels. To drive a few hours to see songs embodied and performed on a low lit stage – songs that have gotten so tangled up in the significant moments of your life, songs that contain so many clues on how to live, songs dense with dark, almost unspeakable beauties – and then the music begins and you begin remembering – your bones begin remembering – the marrow has a memory – you begin remembering your best imaginings, you become intoxicated with possibility, your eyes brim with the happiest tears: they belong to you and you alone.

GK Chesterton said something like, We need priests and pastors to remind us that one day we’re going to die. But we need another kind of priest – poets and writers and musicians – to remind us that we’re not dead yet.

I like it.

Yes, the other night, a friend and I drove a few hours to the capital of Ohio to see one of all my all-time faves, Mr. Leonard Cohen, grace a stage at age 75. His voice: a ragged, beautiful gift. His songs, which slide like glaciers into being, coming to us from some beautiful, substantial beyond…

And as I sit towards the front of the balcony, and hear the songs unreel, Bird On A Wire, Anthem, Tower of Song, Suzanne, Famous Blue Raincoat, Hallelujah, I remember how important songs have been to me.

And I remember as I sit in the balcony that feeling I felt when I was younger, a feeling so complete it eclipsed everything: If I could help somebody else feel like I feel right now then my life would not be in vain.

It only made the evening feel more significant that we drove a few hours – I read a few of Mr. Cohen’s lyrics aloud as Ric steered North and the fields rolled by; I read a few of LC’s poems that have become personal favorites. That feeling of becoming a little drunk with anticipation…

And then you get to the theatre and you look around to see who else had to be there. Who are they, why are they here? Are they into the early songs, the new songs? Did they hear the Jeff Buckley cover of Hallelujah? Madeleine Peyroux sing Dance Me to the End of Love? Are they fans of his early novels or the poems? Who are we??

Mr. Cohen has said a few times on this tour, The last time I stood on this stage was fourteen years ago. I was 60 years old, just a crazy kid with a dream.

Yes, on a Tuesday night in Ohio, Leonard Cohen repeatedly got down on one knee to sing his towering songs, songs full of unforgettable proposals.

God Bless you LC. May we all be in such a beautiful groove at age 75.

(I saw a girl after the concert walking alone down the sidewalk, exclaiming into her cellphone, giddy with joy, I SAW HIM!! There was nothing else to say. She had obviously completed something important on her list of things to do before she died.)

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
(LC, Anthem)

So as we pack our suitcases today to go find our own stretch of highway headed West, we pack with a sense of, YES. Yes in all caps. This is good. This is a worthy attempt at finding and sharing the best we have to offer. This is what we do.

We sure hope you can join us.


Linford and Karin



(Note: when we play two nights in the same city, the shows will be substantially different…)

November 2, Monday, Denver, CO, SOILED DOVE (Special guest, Katie Herzig)
(SOLD OUT!) (Call venue to dbl check in case tix become available.)

November 4, Wednesday, Salt Lake City, UT, THE STATE ROOM (Special guest, Katie Herzig) Our first concert in SLC in 8 long years! Pls help spread the word. Pass a few songs around. We’d love to make some new friends. Lookin’ forward!

(November 6, Friday, San Diego, CA: (CANCELLED.) (We were supposed to play Anthology but the venue cancelled because they had an opportunity to make more money hosting a private party. Our apologies for your inconvenience. Pls join us in Los Angeles!)

November 7, Saturday, Los Angeles, CA, LARGO AT THE CORONET (Special guest, Katie Herzig)
November 8, Sunday, Los Angeles, CA, LARGO AT THE CORONET (Special guest, Katie Herzig)

*We have been looking for the perfect venue in Los Angeles for years. What can we say, this seated, intimate, ALL-AGES listening room has hosted a who’s who of songwriters: Randy Newman, Gillian Welch, Aimee Mann and many more. Performers as diverse as Jon Brion and Sarah Silverman have done lengthy residencies at Largo. There is a great family vibe in this place, and we look forward to sharing it with our extended musical family. Please join us and bring some of your favorite people with you.

November 10, Tuesday, San Francisco, CA, GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL (Special guest, Katie Herzig) Another great room full of the ghosts of its burlesque past – we always look forward to visiting San Fran. See you all soon!

November 12, Thursday, Portland, OR, DOUG FIR (Special guest, Katie Herzig)
November 13, Friday, Portland, OR, DOUG FIR (Special guest, Katie Herzig)
(If Quentin Tarantino designed an ultra-sheik cocktail lounge in a log cabin… It’s going to be a sweaty, visceral coupla evenings!

November 14, Saturday, Seattle, WA, THE TRIPLE DOOR (Special guest, Katie Herzig)
November 15, Sunday, Seattle, WA, THE TRIPLE DOOR (Special guest, Katie Herzig)

This venue has become another all-time fave. Not a bad seat in the house, amazing food and drink, makes for an unforgettable night out all around. Hope to see you!!


Visit OvertheRhine.com for upcoming East Coast dates and much more!

Pls share the above with the salt of the earth, distant buzzin’ cousins, rooms full of students bent over their spiral bounds, recalcitrant music critics, girls in dark dresses with red lipstick and sad eyes. Fax a copy to your favorite radio station, or slip a page into an unsuspecting library book. The bearded painter or printmaker who comes out into the street after dark – he spent the day stripped to the waist in the studio – make sure he gets a copy along with his bourbon or espresso. Fold this letter into an origami menagerie, displayed proudly on an ink-stained wooden desk, words folded into paper wings. And finally, as always, line the braided wire birdcage with its meandering paragraphs and let the white doves crap all night long.