We spent this last weekend with Jt’s brother Jeremy and his wife Christie. This was the second year they drove up from their little town in North Carolina to go with us to the Over the Rhine homecoming Christmas show at the Taft Theater in downtown Cincinnati. It’s a tradition that I hope continues for many years. It’s nice to see the show with another couple who loves Over the Rhine like we do but I cherish as much the spaces between, mostly spent laughing until our sides ache.
There is a review and some great pictures from the show at Cincinnati.com but I’m going to talk about it here as well.
Lucy Wainwright Roche opened again this year and this is the third time I’ve seen her open for Over the Rhine. She is a GEM. I know it’s not how things are typically done but I kind of hope they will bring her back every year for this show. She’s so talented and funny but just listening to her music will never give you what you get when you see her live. She is absolutely charming in her storytelling and interactions with the crowd.
Over the Rhine’s set was one of the steamiest I’ve ever seen them do. Linford is lending his voice to the songs more often now than I recall him doing in the past. Call me crazy but I think it adds a little spark, as though some of their own heat is rubbing off on the music. If Karin had sung Fever, we would have seen a flux of babies named Karin and Linford born at the end of August this coming year. These steamy songs included The King Knows How, Trouble, North Pole Man and my favorite new song, Sacred Ground. I heard the song last year and again at the Washington Park concert but those performances paled in comparison. They have clearly been tightening up these new songs for recording this year. Sacred Ground is a mournful song about the destruction of the earth in coal country with these heartbreaking lyrics:
They stole the blood right out of this ground
They’d still kick a flower when it’s down
Help me trace the scars on mountains
The sun that sets in a bloody fountain
At the same time, this is an intensely sensual song that leaves you longing for another warm body to press against:
Love me like the breath you held too deep
Like the need you feel to lay still beneath
Leave me with teeth marks on my skin
Like some holy spirits tryin’ to get in
Take me home and lay me down
On the hungry earth
Love me… on the sacred ground
I think I’ll just leave you with this, Sacred Ground on the show, In Search of a Song with Jason Wilbur, the song starts at the 12:20 mark.