Leaving the Edges Wild: An Interview with Over the Rhine, Part 2

By Meredith Holladay

Guest Post

Today I continue yesterday’s conversation with Linford Detweiler about place, songwriting, the sacred, and what’s next for him, his wife Karin, and their band Over the Rhine.

 Meredith Holladay: What’s the hardest part about making music as a married couple?

Linford Detweiler: Probably just the incessant nature of sharing a common dream, being an entrepreneurial couple: Your gig never really goes away completely. You carry it with you always. But I should counter by saying that it hasn’t always been a difficult road either. Karin and I had a musical chemistry that was apparent and immediate. That was, and remains, a gift.

But yes, taking care of the gifts we are given sooner or later requires some hard work. We try to tend both gardens: the garden of our relationship, and the garden of our music.

MH: In writing about the song, “Meet Me at the Edge of the World,” you say one of the things you felt pulled to do after moving to Nowhere Farm was to learn the names of the plants, trees, and birds on the farm. Can you speak to the importance of naming for you, particularly as the practice is tied to place? [Read more…]

Leaving the Edges Wild: An Interview with Over the Rhine, Part 1

Guest Post

By Meredith Holladay

September 3 marked the release of Over the Rhine’s newest album Meet Me at the Edge of the World, a double album of nineteen songs. Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler have been making music together since 1989, the same year Image Journal was founded. Both have a rich identity of exploring the outskirts of art, faith, and mystery.

Linford and Karin crowd-sourced funding for their previous album, The Long Surrender, the new record, and with Meet Me, they even opened Nowhere Farm—their farm in southern Ohio—to contributing fans for two nights of concerts, food, and stories. Welcoming fans to their farm was important, as the place has a unique presence on the new album.

After moving to their farm, Linford’s father gave them the advice to “leave the edges wild,” an idea that has captivated them in their cultivation of both their land and their music. I spoke to Linford about place, songwriting, the sacred, and what’s next for Over the Rhine.

Meredith Holladay: Describe the experience of having your fans at Nowhere Farm?

Linford Detweiler: It was meaningful—a little nerve-wracking for Karin to contemplate having 500 folks in her back yard, but a lovely weekend. We put up a circus tent and played the songs that had grown out of the soil of Nowhere Farm for the folks that pitched in generously to help us record Meet Me at The Edge Of The World. When the tent came down, we couldn’t tell anything had happened—no trash lying around. Those that attended were very respectful. It felt like a celebration.

[Read more…]

Sarah Masen: The Trying Mark, Part 1

Guest Post

By Angela Doll Carlson

The first time I heard Sarah Masen sing was at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. Sarah took the stage after being introduced as a “songwriter’s songwriter” and a “musician’s muse.” She carried a rich burgundy mandolin and wore denim high-water overalls and heavy boots, her long hair twisted in two small knots near the top of her head. Her wide, welcoming smile was striking and her strong, wiry build made it seem as though, like a bird, she was made to take flight. And when she began to sing, she did take flight, right there at the Bluebird Café.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Sarah wrapped her fingers around the neck of the guitar beginning in the mid nineties. Her self titled solo album, released in 1996, garnered considerable attention from the music community and was a solid launch base for her subsequent works which included Carry Us Through in 1998, The Holding in 1999 (a re-release of a previous project), and The Dreamlife of Angels in 2001, as well as a trio of EP projects in 2007: Women’s Work Is Alchemy, A History of Lights and Shadows and Magic That Works.

[Read more…]

Over the Rhine’s Sound of Place

Guest Post
Brian Volck


“Somewhere is better than anywhere.”
—Flannery O’Connor


Early in the film, Lone Star, written and directed by John Sayles, a man poking about in the Texas borderlands says, “You live in a place, you should learn something about it.” Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler have lived in and learned about Ohio most of their lives: rural childhoods, Malone College where they met, and music-making in the historic Cincinnati neighborhood from which their band, Over the Rhine, takes its name.

Now living in a nineteenth-century house in Highland County, Ohio, the married singer-songwriter duo has spent recent years learning the ways of what they call “Nowhere Farm,” the names of the birds and trees at home there, and the rhythms of the day in a place where, heeding the advice of Detweiler’s father, they’ve kept the edges wild.

While Meet Me at the Edge of the World, Over the Rhine’s new double-CD release, isn’t the first to emerge from Nowhere Farm, it documents a deepening attention to and appreciation of place. Through thoughtful lyrics and tunes drawn from the deep American musical tradition, it’s clear how much Bergquist and Detweiler have become, in agrarian writer Wes Jackson’s words, “native to this place.” [Read more…]