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Josh Hurst

Over the Rhine - The Long Surrender (Jan. 2011)

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Sheesh. Joe needs to take some time off. Guy's everywhere!

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Sheesh. Joe needs to take some time off. Guy's everywhere!

Sorry about my duplicate thread. Great minds post alike. Or something. But no, he doesn't need to take time off. Work, Joe, work.

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FYI, I've deleted the duplicate thread.

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OK, so the "Let's Make a Record" schtick on the OTR website is pretty creative, I'll admit. I kept not expecting the next (ridiculous) level of "support". But it also comes of a bit poorly, or at least at odds with my long-established notions of who OTR are. Particularly the emphasis on private shows, exclusive experiences, limited merchandise, etc. While they've flirted with such things before, this really comes off to me as a sell-out. OTR has always presented themselves at shows, in liner notes, etc. as "the friends you haven't yet made", and have lived up to that promise for a few people that I've spoken with. This sense of connection is beautiful, and legions of fans have felt a deep sense of closeness to the band because of this (among other things). But the price of this pseudo-friendship was never more that $15 for an album, or a few tanks of gas to see a show 2 states over. Now, I can pay $2500 to get executive production credits on the album.

Yes, I know that the tongue is not far from the cheek in all this. But they also put it on their web page, and (hopefully) will live up to their promises, should someone throw down the money. To me, this all comes off as a distraction from the fact that their music simply hasn't been as vital in recent years. No amount of special, exclusive, private-GDBD-reprise-concert-in-your-home gimmicks will make up for that lack. I know that they're trying to find new directions and to be honest with where their musical journey has been and is going. But to me, this is a disappointing turn in the journey. Let's hope it's a good album nonetheless.

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Finally.

For a few years now, when the subject of musical dream-team pairings has come up, I've said, "Over the Rhine produced by Joe Henry." I even told Linford and Karin so almost a year ago now. I can hardly believe it's happening. I don't think I'll believe it even when it's released.

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I was a bit non-plussed by the fund-raising project, too, but it makes more sense after reading their last letter.

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FWIW, I'm grateful for the chance to contribute to their next album. I *do* think it would be super-awkward to have them come play in my living room just because I gave them a certain amount of money. I would feel really weird about that (and I'm guessing it would be weird for them too). I found myself wishing there was a way to give without getting anything back. (Can you tell I was raised around missionaries? :) The mindset of a group of people giving so that a few people can live out their calling is pretty bread and butter for me.)

A local filmmaker I admire took a similar approach with his most recent film, and I respect him for it.

At the end of the day, I want Over the Rhine to be honest about their limitations, and I want to be able to take part in helping to meet that. It kind of feels like "art coming out of community" to me. And maybe it's because I'm from Oregon, but the more home-grown and community-based something is, the easier it sits with me. (Reinsert here, the part about the awkwardness of them coming to my living room because I paid a certain amount of money.)

One thing's for sure, with this and Sam Phillip's Long Play, we're seeing some changes and alternate approaches to music development and distribution.

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Oh, and I would be remorse if didn't mention my excitement over the Joe Henry pairing; for about an hour last night it was all I could think about. I think there are enough similarities and enough differences between them so as to create a beautiful tension. I'm looking forward to it.

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Great news, am excited that both OTR and the Innocence Mission are releasing new music this year. Love both bands so much.

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Joe had this to say via his official facebook page today:

"I am not sure how expansive I am allowed to be at this point, but the album for Over The Rhine that i just produced last week -and begin mixing today- has exceeded my expecatations for it. The songs are deep, turbulent and emotional, and Karin Bergquist one of the most gifted singers I have ever worked with. Everyone left the sessions a bit stunned by the week's catch."

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Latest update: It's titled The Long Surrender, and it's slated to release 1/11/11. But of course, those who have already put their money down will get a copy long before then.

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The cat's outta the bag.

Cincinnati.com's new concert review reveals exciting details about the album, including the scoop on its big-deal duet.

I can't tell you how happy I am for Linford and Karin. But having dined with them in August, I can tell you how happy they are!

By the way, isn't it about time we titled this thread "Over the Rhine - The Long Surrender"?

Edited by Overstreet

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tls.jpg

This popped up on a couple of blogs this weekend as the band gave a sneak preview of the album to those who contributed.

I didn't think it was possible to find an Over the Rhine album I would love more than 1996's Good Dog Bad Dog. Well, it's possible. This is my favorite record of their long run. "Undamned," "Oh Yeah By the Way," "Only God Can Save Us Now," "Rave On," "All My Favorite People are Broken," and "Infamous Love Song" are among the strongest things I've ever heard from them.

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I dare say it's going to become my favorite of their albums, as well. Which is saying something, though I'm not 100% sure just yet.

I AM 100% sure, however, that this is their best-sounding recording. Far and away. Not that THAT's any big surprise, given who they made it with.

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tls.jpg

This popped up on a couple of blogs this weekend as the band gave a sneak preview of the album to those who contributed.

Do you know if they're going to open the preorders / patronage options back up, for those who didn't have available cash the first time around? Linford told me at the Glen they were about to put the options back up, but I can't find anything about it yet. And I really want to hear this before next year.

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I'll ask.

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Is it fair to restart discussion of this now that those of us who contributed to the making of the album have it downloaded?

Please?

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Deborah, please do!

Stephen, nope, haven't heard.

I'm working on a piece about the album... have been for a while now... and have no reservations about calling it my favorite OTR record. I think it's the most impressive in its range, the most graceful in its melodies, the most impressive in its production, and the most cohesive in sound and subject matter since Good Dog Bad Dog. Karin's never sounded better on a record, and hearing L&K sing together is a particularly joyous highlight.

"Undamned" is such a beautiful lyric, and Lucinda Williams sings in a voice more broken and mournful than I've ever heard from her. "Oh Yeah By the Way" may be the saddest lyrics they've ever sung. I've been hearing them sing "Only God Can Save Us Now" since 2003, when they performed it during an afternoon acoustic set at Cornerstone, and I'm glad they waited to put it on an album until now, because I can't imagine a finer arrangement than this, with such strong backing vocals.

And "Infamous Love Song"... well, how about that, Leonard Cohen?

Edited by Overstreet

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It is indeed difficult to listen to "Infamous Love Song" without thinking of Leonard Cohen... but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to hear "All My Favorite People" as anything other than their answer to Tom Waits' "Come On Up to the House."

"Undamned" is one of the, oh, two or three simplest lyrics they've ever written... and one of the most astonishing. I've nearly broken down in tears several times during that song. And it is the most human I've ever heard Lucinda sound.

Cohesive in subject matter? Definitely... but, like any good OtR album (including Good Dog), there's a nice moment of diversion here in "The King Knows How," a song that I fear is destined to be overlooked despite it being totally awesome.

Worth noting: "Sharpest Blade" and "Soon" are both Joe Henry lyrics... but the way they fit into OtR's aesthetic is remarkable. (He told me that he wrote the latter in just a couple minutes over coffee one morning; why do some people get all the talent?)

Favorite thing here, thus far, is "Rave On," though I'm having a hard time talking about it just yet. I'm really moved by "Laugh of Recognition" as well-- a song about abject failure that somehow manages to be kinda inspiring

All in all: Yes, I think it's their best album yet.

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"Rave On" is based on a B.H. Fairchild poem. He read the poem as an introduction when they played the song live at the Glen Workshop last summer. If you read the poem, the song's ideas become clearer... but it's a great song.

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"Rave On" is based on a B.H. Fairchild poem. He read the poem as an introduction when they played the song live at the Glen Workshop last summer. If you read the poem, the song's ideas become clearer... but it's a great song.

I knew it was based on the poem but confess that I have not tracked it down quite yet; honestly, I'm still wrapping my mind around the SOUND of that song, which has this sort of holy-moment feel that gives me shivers.

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Thanks so much for finding and posting those, Jeffrey, especially "The Sharpest Blade." Hearing JH-- my all-time musical hero-- sing with Over the Rhine-- aside from U2, my all-time favorite band-- is something fairly close to a dream come true.

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