Over the Rhine, Live in Austin

On Friday night Brooke and I saw Over the Rhine in concert at Austin’s Cactus Café. Some of you might remember the last time Brooke and I saw Over the Rhine live in concert – there was quite a story to tell. This time was much less eventful – no train derailments and no sprinting through New York City – but the concert itself was even better than the previous one. It was fantastic. It reminded me that music is meant to be played live. Recorded music is great but live music far surpasses any mp3 – the combination of musical performance and collective experience elevates the art form to much greater levels. Of course this isn’t true of all performers – but it was certainly true of Over the Rhine on Friday night.

A few highlights:

First of all, it was a highlight just that they came to Texas. It’s been a long time. And you could feel it in the crowd – everyone had been waiting a long time for OTR’s return. I don’t think anyone left disappointed.

They played almost every song from their latest record, The Trumpet Child (you can listen to it streaming on the OTR website). I must admit, this record didn’t thrill me the first couple times I listened to it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but I didn’t feel like it measured up to their previous two releases (Drunkard’s Prayer and Ohio), which are personal favorites. However, after listening to these songs live, and seeing the energy and pure musical joy involved, I became a big fan. Brooke left the concert having decided that this is her new favorite OTR record (which is saying a lot because she LOVES Drunkard’s Prayer).

Linford talked about the significance of the song “The Trumpet Child.” His explanation was similar to the following words which come from an interview Linford gave: “…when I consider one of my earliest memories, it’s the sound of a trumpet, a musical memory. It was a camp meeting revival that my parents took me to. I remember that bright brass bell on a little wooden stage, my sister’s braids, some of these images. But that sound, it awakened my conscious mind somehow. My thought was that I wanted to be up there. ‘Get me up there. That’s where I want to be.'” And later, “…as a boy, hearing about the sound of this trumpet and Gabriel blowing it or whatever, and not really being sure what it was all about, and then hearing these great horn players like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis and John Coltrane and Stan Getz. So, wondering about the sound of that trumpet and the earth being reborn: Is it real? Is it a metaphor? What if all of a sudden we did just hear this amazing jazz riff blowing in the sky? Everyone would kind of stop, pay attention. So that’s just a riff on all of that.” (read the full interview)

Karin confessed that she gave up hard liquor for lent. Linford added that he gave up church for lent – he said it was something he likes but he felt it was time to take a break – I have no idea if he was joking or not.

The musical highlight of the night was definitely “Don’t Wait for Tom.” A brilliant live performance – you just gotta love Linford’s voice and there’s nothing like Karin banging a cookie sheet with a large mallet!

Lastly, Karin’s voice and performance was just stellar. In my opinion, her voice is unparalleled in its power, passion, and beauty. It was infused with life. I couldn’t get enough!

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Here are a couple live recordings from a concert late last year. They were two of my favorites on Friday night (see the full recording here).

“Don’t Wait for Tom” – Over the Rhine

“Orphan Girl” – Over the Rhine

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2 Responses

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you and Brooke got to enjoy another Over the Rhine concert! They’re just the best.

  2. lucky!!!

    how are brooke and ivy doing these days?

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