Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the husband and wife from Cincinnati, Ohio, who make up the dark, folk outfit Over The Rhine, present to us the full complexity, not just of love, but more so the people who stick their noses into it and get destroyed (nicely or messily) by it. The complexities are endless and they're frightening when they're explored in the sweet and insightful ways that these two songwriters dig into them.
Both parties to love, in Over The Rhine songs, are capable of heartbreak. Neither is in a position of power. No one is weaker than the other. No one needs it more than the other. It's the way that things move, when the darned emotion has taken full hold, when it's not just a lark any longer. It's when so damned serious that it's a beautifully entrenched sensation. These are people who have devoted themselves to each other and they're not planning on going anywhere, but then again, most people don't plan on going anywhere, but that's hardly ever the way it turns out. These are people who are happy, but still harbor that shakiness that comes with uncertainty of different degrees. Everyone's capable of straying.
Detweiler and Bergquist ask, "What if I'm as good as you as walking away?" Isn't that the scariest thing anyone has to really worry about? It paralyzes a person. Over The Rhine songs regularly dance in this feeling, staring at it and seeing what they can learn of the tells and its bluffs. We all hope we never have to recognize them out here in the wild. We'd rather something like what comes out on "Sacred Ground, Hungry Earth," when they sing, "Love me like a memory held too long/Like a need to feel some forgotten song/Kiss me to chills like there's only me/Like it's hard to kill the last cottonwood tree."