Tuesday night was one of those nights where it pays to have fabulous friends who love great music and grand art. You see, I have this friend called Consecrated*, who happens to be just that friend rubbing off on me her appreciation for great music and grand art. This story’s characters all have a prologue somewhere out in Oregon last summer when Consecrated, myself, an English GPS named Kate, and Over the Rhine drove to the coast for kites, wine, salt water taffy, star fish, glass blown floats, and adventure. On this lovely vacation, Oregon introduced us to a grand friendship, while Consecrated introduced me to her favorite band, Over the Rhine. Since that time my appreciation for OtR has slowly become my own, although, Consecrated still remains the master expert.
How appropriate that Consecrated should be the one to once again, introduce me to the newness of experiencing OtR live! I soaked up as much as I could. The fact that when you get to partake in the presentation of live music, you now have five senses through which to filter it all and suck it into memory is sometimes an overwhelmingly wonderful thing. The sights of all the stringed instruments waiting their turn to be played on the stage was a precursor for just what varied and true musical talent was about to be shared. The smell of my audience neighbor’s aveda hair products reminded me of the organic class that some people exude (that, and I would buy aveda products only for their smell if I could, it is one of my top “comfort smells”). The feel of other audience members tapping their feet and riding the music like it was a lazy river was contagious.
When I caught my first glimpse of the band: a comfortingly awkward and lanky Linford, a wavy and confidently beautiful Karin, and the duo of backup musicians who seemed eager to fill their hands with that grand plethora of patiently waiting instruments, I smiled. Linford and Karin where the kind of couple that I was just proud to watch, to listen as they shared details about their life, and to know and imagine what kind of an affirming, creative, and fulfilling marriage they must have. If they can complement each other so well in their shared passions of writing and performing such meaningful music, what must the rest of their lives look like? One of their first songs of the evening was one with these lyrics:
“I don’t want to waste your time with music you don’t need. Why should I autograph the book that you won’t even read? I’ve got a different scar for every song and blood still left to bleed, but I don’t want to waste your time with music you don’t need.”
From what I have experienced so far, this has been a brilliant way to sum them up: they’re committed (to each other, to their listeners, to music, to their gifting), but their music has some much needed meaning for different seasons of life that if individuals aren’t willing to explore, then their music is going to be lacking.
I’ve been trying to think of other things or feelings that might visually represent OtR’s sound/honesty, and so far this is what I’ve come up with. Many coffeehouse-y musicians are described as “smokey” but I think that Karin’s voice is the smokiest of the smokey. However, if OtR is a bouquet of wafting smoke strands, they might as well be those specifically hanging around the living room of Wonderland’s caterpillar, where each smokey vapor has its own color, shape, and personality. Sometimes its lazy, sometimes its sexy, sometimes its spiritual, sometimes its exciting, sometimes its edgy or perhaps slightly uncomfortable, sort of like the prickling sensation in your throat after you’ve enjoyed a clouded swab of cotton candy without access to a friendly drink of water. Their lyrics are poetic and intelligent and real. I really appreciate that.
I’ve decided that I’ll attend concerts of theirs in the future and can’t wait for their new album being recorded this May. If Over the Rhine is a band that you’d like to check out, or learn about, visit their website. After pursuing around the site for a little while, you’ll feel like you personally know Linford and Karin.
*I don’t know why I take great pleasure in re-naming my friends that wind up in my blogs, but I enjoy the secrecy and mystery that a blogging world has the potential of capturing. Aliases allow me to still talk about my friends and their impact on my life without having to publish them all over the internet. My friend Consecrated was named so because it felt artsty and meaningful and true to her, and she’s also a character in my life that could pop up again on the Rachel side of blogging.