Letters

September 15, 2004

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

September 15, 2004

Subject: Northern Spy #41

Hello from the attic of the Grey Ghost…

1. Fall is our reward for living in Ohio. A swing state. A battleground state. Whee!

2. This past Saturday we played The Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green, Ohio. Gorgeous day, great crowd, some familiar faces. (Big college football game down the road. Lots of people wanting to hear music nonetheless.)

3. Karin surprised me. Sometimes I forget. The girl can sing.

4. And thanks. What can we say? Over the Rhine fans are pretty special, eh? We had just about all our gear stolen on the road a few months back. People here and there around the world who listen to our music got their heads together on-line and took up a collection. A love offering if you will. Right around $4000 was raised if you consider the Fender guitar amp that we received in a cardboard box, meticulously padded, and the shopping bag full of cash at the 20th Century Show. Wow.

5. Stiv and Drew presented us with a check at The York Street International Cafe. A television station showed up with a camera. We thought we made the evening news. We thought we were gonna be able to thank all y’all on tv. We thought we were famous and what not.

6. We were bumped that evening by hurricane Charlie.

7. Karin played many guitars in search of a replacement for her Lowden. She played old Martins and Gibsons. She played a few Taylors and looked troubled. She played a 30-year-old Gibson called “The Dove” that was a contender. Karin said the dove inlays reminded her that we needed to forgive the bastards that stole all our stuff.

8. Finally she located a tiny store in Coshocton, Ohio, the only store in Ohio that carries Lowdens, and we drove some back roads, a day out, the two of us drinking coffee and talking, looking at the sky. We found the store in an old house by a creek. Wildwood Music. Signed picture of Johnny Cash on the wall. Karin played many different Lowdens and then finally picked up a brand new guitar–the same model as the one that was stolen, the O25c. She gave it a strum. Cedar, East Indian Rosewood, Pearwood binding. Tears came to her eyes.

9. That was the one.

10. Felt like home.

11. In the meanwhile, I was eyeing this pretty little girl of a guitar myself, and Karin said I could take it home since I had a big birthday comin’ up and since I had agreed to drive all that way.

12. We were both proud owners of new Lowdens.

13. New acoustic guitars sure smell good.

14. We may be the only working band in America whose fans bought the instruments being played on stage.

15. It’s election season, and we submit this for your consideration. The Poopsmith Song! Our first recording with and for children. A universal theme. Based on a true story. We grinned alot recording it. Lotsa parents have downloaded the free MP-3 from overtherhine.com. Their pre-schoolers seem to agree: Play it again! We did a focus group with my neices and nephews. Satisfying giggles all around. One mother wrote us and said it significantly helped her son narrow down the range of targets.

16. The Poopsmith Song! was supposed to be included on a parenting cd that was going to be distributed free to parents in Ohio. The project is being organized in part by Hope Taft, wife of Republican Governor Bob Taft. The music coordinator loved the song. The music was screened by a political adviser to the Republican Party. The song raised concerns. It was too edgy. Potentially politically damaging. An election year. “We can’t include a song about poop.”

17. Family values.

18. We resist the urge to have thousands of you send zip-lock baggies, stool sample safely sealed, to the Governor’s office.

19. “We were going to put it in the potty, but I guess you and your advisers know of a better place to put it.”

20. “See what brown can do for you.”

21. Ha, ha, ha. Well, the song is still free and available at overtherhine.com.

22. (Then there are the 20-something, single, literary listeners. “I don’t know, I just don’t get as much from this song on repeated listenings as I do from some of the other songs.”)

23. No shit, Sherlock.

24. I love writing these newsletters.

25. Page two.

26. Oh, now this. (The end of an era.) We’re freshening up our announcement list and moving it to overtherhine.com. If you’re already on one of the existing lists, you should receive an e-mail in the next few days inviting you to click on a link and subscribe to the brand spankin’ new announcement list. If you do that you’ll continue to receive these masterpieces. (And there will be a pop-up window on the overtherhine.com home page where you can sign up as well.)

27. The e-mail discussion list is being retired. Many thanks to all of you who contributed over the years. It was a good run. The discussion has been moved to The Orchard, our on-line forum. Stop by and join this growing community if you’re so inclined. (Would anyone be interested in a “Lostee’s Forum”?) By the end of the month, we hope to add monthly “live” chats. Stay tuned.

28. We’re told that this Sunday evening, September 19th, Idea #21 (Not Too Late) will be used in an episode of Jack and Bobby on the WB, 9pm Eastern. (This song was the hidden track on OHIO.) Check it out.

29. This just in from Karin. Karin measured the tail of our Great Dane this morning. Elroy’s tail is 1′ 9″ long. In case you wanted to know. (For purposes of clearance and safety.)

30. We’ve got two very special double headers coming up–Old Towne School of Folk Music in Chicago on Saturday, September 25th, 2004. (Two shows: early and late.) (An amazing venue, our first time.) And Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio, Friday and Saturday, October 22nd and 23rd. (Our 2nd living room.) Hope to see you. We’ve got a few new ones to try out.

31. Our kitchen is painted! Thanks for your help Angie. Love the three beautiful red doors.

32. Due to the success of our “Dorm Room Special”, we’ll be running another poster sale soon. Stay tuned at overtherhine.com. Inspiring walls by us.

33. The DVD is still in the works. Hope to have a final creative campfire with Kris Barberg soon to cut it all together. Thanks to Kris for her unwavering dedication to this project, and patience.

34. We’re planning another Christmas tour–just a few chilly, come-inside-out-of-the-cold weeks–mostly close to home. Consider this your invitation to come to us. The big homecoming Taft Theater show in Cincinnati is scheduled for December 11th.

35. Thanks to NYC sisters Britt and Heather for the beautiful rose bush (!) and the old, well-loved Salinger books. We planted the rose bush in the back yard. It bloomed!

36. Thanks to all of you who have made our music some part of the story you’re writing with your lives.

37. We’re working on recording a new collection of songs for all y’all.

38. I think that’s it for now.

39. Bye. “Life is strange. Life is good. Life is all that it should be.”

40. Linford

41. & xoxo Karin