Idol Chatter

OverRhine070820.jpgI have been reading author/critic/blogger Jeffrey Overstreet’s continuous and always glowing comments about musical duo Over The Rhine for over a year now without having a clue who they are. But since I agree with most of his opinions on artistic matters, his comments have convinced me I have been missing out on a musical treasure. So with their latest effort, “The Trumpet Child,” hitting stores Tuesday, I am officially joining the ranks of those who appreciate their jazzy, quirky, innovative style.
Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are the husband and wife duo whose musical musings might be most closely related to the likes of Norah Jones or Diane Krall on the secular music side. On the contemporary Christian music side, well, a group like Sixpence None the Richer is the only comparison I can think of that might come close. But with Over The Rhine, the nature of their Christian faith is more often subtly implied than overtly proclaimed. And when their songs do take a spiritual turn, it is with clever, sometimes even obtuse, lyrical juxtapositions that explain why they have not found a high profile home in the contemporary Christian music arena.

The perfect example of this is on the title track–the one real Christian anthem on the CD–that smoothly connects an allusion to the angel Gabriel with an allusion to Louie “Satchmo” Armstrong. That’s not something you’re going to hear on the Dove Awards any time soon. “Trumpet Child’s” portrait of heaven and a returning Messiah is no fluffy, sweet, Precious Moments kind of otherworld. No, the images of heaven here are of fire, power and mystery.
But I would argue songs like “I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time,” “Nothing is Innocent,” and “Desperate for Love” are equally authentic in their desire to communicate a message that every moment of life is meant to be lived honestly, fully, and with a keen sense of our need for redemption. Yet the songs never come at you in an expected , predictable manner, but rather with creative metaphors that are sometimes humourous, sometimes joyful, and sometimes haunting.
The Over The Rhine experts like Jeffrey say that this is not their favorite Over The Rhine Cd , but for new listeners like me, “Trumpet’s Child” has made me curious enough to check out their earlier work. If you’re looking for some music that is not the same old, same old, then I encourage you to do the same

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