Updated Mon, Jun 17, 2013 1:04 pm
Ohio-based band Over The Rhine returns to Stuart’s Opera House this Saturday for a special acoustic show at 8 p.m.
The group, which performed at Stuart's almost six years ago and made a stop at the 2011 Nelsonville Music Festival, is currently touring in support of its latest release, Meet Me at the Edge of the World.
"It’s a collection of songs that required some extra real estate," said pianist/guitarist/bassist Linford Detweiler of the latest product of his two-decade musical collaboration with longtime partner Karin Bergquist.
Indeed, the new two-CD set, recorded with producer Joe Henry and released on the band’s own Great Speckled Dog label, marks something of a landmark in Over the Rhine’s large and remarkably accomplished body of work, exploring some challenging new musical territory while featuring some of the duo’s most compelling songs and performances to date.
The double album’s 19 songs—18 original compositions plus a memorable reading of The Band’s classic "It Makes No Difference"—are both introspective and expansive, embodying the same mix of lyrical eloquence, emotional nuance and melodic soulfulness that have already won Bergquist (vocals, acoustic guitar, tenor guitar) and Detweiler a passionate fan base and considerable critical acclaim.
Paste has praised Over the Rhine’s "lovely, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting musical mosaic," while USA Today made note of the group’s "mature, graceful and sad songs (and) intimate, soulful arrangements," which "showcase Bergquist’s achingly beautiful voice." Newsday described the music as "aggressively beautiful, like those '60s protesters who confronted soldiers with flowers."
The songs that comprise Meet Me At The Edge Of The World were largely inspired by the atmosphere of the couple’s rural Ohio home of the past eight years: a ramshackle farmhouse built in 1833, amidst the rolling, tree-lined fields of rural Highland County, 45 miles east of the band’s original urban home base of Cincinnati.
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World marks Over the Rhine’s second collaboration (following 2011′s The Long Surrender) with Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry, an iconoclastic singer-songwriter in his own right whose production resume also includes acclaimed albums with the likes of Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III.
Native Ohioans Detweiler and Bergquist launched Over the Rhine as a quartet in the spring of 1989, naming the ensemble after the historic, bohemian Cincinnati neighborhood where they lived and first wrote and recorded together.
Their early demos and performances quickly struck a chord with listeners, and they already had a solid local following by the time they launched their recording career with a pair of well-received independently-released albums, Till We Have Faces (1991) and Patience (1992).
Over the next two decades, Over the Rhine continued to build a musically and emotionally potent catalogue, encompassing the studio albums Eve (1994), Good Dog Bad Dog (1996), Films For Radio (2001), Ohio (2003), Drunkard’s Prayer (2005), The Trumpet Child (2007) and The Long Surrender (2011), the holiday-themed The Darkest Night of the Year (1996) and Snow Angels (2006), the live Changes Come (2004), and a series of limited-edition CDs featuring live, rare and unreleased material.
The fierce independent streak that has fueled Over the Rhine from the start asserted itself when Bergquist and Detweiler decided to release 2007′s The Trumpet Child on their own Great Speckled Dog label (named after the couple’s Great Dane, Elroy). The Long Surrender marked the band’s first venture into fan-funded recording.
Saturday's show time is 8 p.m. For tickets, call (740) 753-1924 or www.stuartsoperahouse.org. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the show, starting at 7 p.m.