Idol Chatter

If there is one musical gift that should go at the top of your holiday wish list this season, it really should be Over the Rhine’s latest, and for me, undeniably their best effort, “The Long Surrender.” The CD doesn’t officially release until early 2011, but then came the good news that the jazz/folk duo is releasing a download for purchase of the entire recording through their website right now which also entitles you to a CD to be shipped later in December.
Over the Rhine has always had a die-hard core group of followers, but in the last year or two the husband and wife couple – backed by a stellar group of musicians – have found that the audience for their spiritual musings on the human condition has grown. I should known; I stumbled upon their work at a conference only two years ago and my life was change forever by the piercing honesty that permeates every song.
“The Long Surrender” loses perhaps a little of the quirky edge of previous efforts, but they don’t lose the smart turns of phrases and haunting images that waft over the istener as songtress extraordinaire Karin Berquist’s vocals are showcased better than ever. She invites us to join her in “The Laughter of Recognition” as we look at our failures and helps listeners embrace the pain and joy of growing old not-so-gracefully on my favorite track, “Only God Can Save Us Now.” God is always in the details of the stories OTR sings about, but never in an obvious or didactic way.
So treat yourself to a new experience that will wash you in grace and hope amidst whatever burdens you may carry this holiday season. Your spirit will be glad you did.

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