Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday - Over The Rhine Concert

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but is there something that holds a special place in your heart? Maybe your spouse, or a special vacation, or a valuable possession. Maybe certain music always takes you back or is always there as the new memories are forming. As you may know, I have a lot of favorite bands and my wife and I have some favorites together too. One of my all time favs is Over The Rhine.
The first time I heard of them was at a Christian music festival called Inner Seeds in the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds sometime during the summer of 1992 (I think – it was a long time ago…). It was their Patience tour, their second album. Their first album was Till We Have Faces, released a year or so after they first started performing in 1990 – a little OTR history lesson. To be introduced to the band live was revolutionizing for me. After the first notes and the captivating, liquid voice of Karen Bergquist, my perception of music drastically changed. This was unlike anything I have ever listened to. The bands ability to marry music and vocals into one unified and complimentary sound was, well, heavenly (and I don’t use that term lightly). As I look around the audience the looks and expressions were the same: wide eyed, mouth opened and awestruck! After their performance I immediately bought their first two albums (on cassette… yup!) – I only had so much money to spend, I was 17 and broke, but it was well worth the investment. Those two tapes will have shaped my perception of music from then on.

Since then I have had the pleasure of hearing them live three times – twice with a buddy and fellow musical connoisseur and twice with my amazing wife (the first with her was our first date!!). We saw them last week at Eddie’s Attic with some great friends! This show was just Karen and Linford casting their entrancing spell with guitars and piano. I should point out how well their voices blend - there is very little distinction between them - so well that when singing together they sound as one. This is the product of their unity - as husband and wife and band mates for over 20 years- and that their music comes from their very core. They have been given the gift of breathing life to their music. As if a part of them is given up in every song.

As I mentioned, around two years ago my first date with my wife was seeing OTR. I knew then that I would marry her. And I knew that music would play a vital role in our relationship. OTR is one of those bands for us that will never age, or ever get dull. It is a reminder of late nights on the couch with coffee and a fire in the fireplace. Of time spent with great friends, and singing along at every opportunity. The music that we share has a way of bringing us back together. If only briefly, we can forget about the busy, hard times that life brings and gaze at each other starry eyed or hold each other in a loving embrace singing cheek to cheek. God is kind to offer moments of respite to rejuvenate our souls and to remind us why we love each other.

While I was thinking about OTR and how to try to communicate who they are, the theme of unity kept coming up: their unity both musically and vocally – as in a marriage. Could God use the gift of music to exemplify the relationship of husband and wife or the relationship of God and man? That may be a stretch, but when music and voice are merged together as one, it is truly a marvelous sound to behold – truly divine! A gift from the Creator of music – for our enjoyment and His glory.


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