Cincinnati Ballet & Over The Rhine Live Artists
OVER THE RHINE
"It's a collection of songs that required some extra real estate," Linford Detweiler says of Over the Rhine's Meet Me At The Edge Of The World, the latest product of his prolific two-decade musical collaboration with longtime partner Karin Bergquist.
Indeed, the new two-CD set, recorded with producer Joe Henry and released on the band's own Great Speckled Dog label, marks something of a landmark in Over the Rhine's large and remarkably accomplished body of work, exploring some challenging new musical territory while featuring some of the duo's most compelling songs and performances to date.
The double album's 19 songs—18 original compositions plus a memorable reading of The Band's classic "It Makes No Difference"—are both introspective and expansive, embodying the same mix of lyrical eloquence, emotional nuance and melodic soulfulness that have already won Bergquist (vocals, acoustic guitar, tenor guitar) and Detweiler (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards) a passionate fan base and considerable critical acclaim.
Paste has praised Over the Rhine's "lovely, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting musical mosaic," while USA Today made note of the group's "mature, graceful and sad songs (and) intimate, soulful arrangements," which "showcase Bergquist's achingly beautiful voice." Newsday described the music as "aggressively beautiful, like those '60s protesters who confronted soldiers with flowers."
"There may be no more soothing voice in music than Karin Bergquist's," observed Entertainment Weekly. "She could be interpreting jazz standards, but fortunately she applies that balm to her and husband Linford Detweiler's beautifully languid originals, which invoke hard times and celebrate the survival of the least fit."
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World's blend of confident songcraft and creative restlessness is apparent on such vividly expressive new songs as "Meet Me at the Edge of the World," "Sacred Ground," "All Of It Was Music," "Favorite Time of Light," "Wildflower Bouquet" and the haunting "Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down," which features guest vocalist Aimee Mann.
The songs that comprise Meet Me At The Edge Of The World were largely inspired by the atmosphere of the couple's rural Ohio home of the past eight years: a ramshackle farmhouse built in 1833, amidst the rolling, tree-lined fields of rural Highland County.
"These songs all grew loosely out of the soil we live on," Detweiler explains. "We had always dreamed of having a piece of unpaved earth which would serve as our home base, just like many other American artists or writers that are immediately associated with a specific geographical place. We call our place Nowhere Farm: nowhere, or now here, depending on how you look at it."
"We realized when we moved out here that we didn't know the names of much of anything," Bergquist notes. "We began to learn, and once we had, the names of the trees and the weeds and the birds began slipping into our songs. When Linford's father, a birder all of his life, first saw the farm, he encouraged us to 'leave the edges wild.' That became an important metaphor for us on a number of different levels, and the line appears on this record in several places."
While the duo drew artistic inspiration from their home environment, they received financial support from their fans in bringing Meet Me At The Edge Of The World to fruition. Rather than use a conventional third-party crowd-funding site like Kickstarter, they appealed directly to their fans, via their website, for help in financing the recording. The fans responded enthusiastically, showing their support with contributions of between $15 (a simple pre-order with bonus tracks) and $5000 (for a private concert, and executive producer credit etc) in order to make the ambitious project a reality.
"It's actually divided into two short records, 35 minutes each, two distinct chapters," Bergquist explains. "A decade ago, we found ourselves releasing a double album called OHIO that became an important project for us and our audience. In neither case were we completely aware we were making a double album while we were making it. It had to be revealed.”
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World marks Over the Rhine's second collaboration (following 2011's The Long Surrender) with Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry, an iconoclastic singer-songwriter in his own right whose production resume also includes acclaimed albums with the likes of Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III.
"The records that Joe's been involved with all have a unique, funky, organic vibe. There’s something mysterious going on that is hard to explain. But they tend to tug at the soul,” Detweiler says.
Bergquist, Detweiler and Henry gathered a stellar musical cast that included drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist/pedal steel player Eric Heywood, bassist Jennifer Condos, keyboardist Patrick Warren (Disc One) and guitarist Mark Goldenberg (Disc Two) plus a few notable guests (David Piltch, Van Dyke Parks and Aimee Mann) and cut all 19 of Meet Me At The Edge Of The World's songs in six days.
"It was all about capturing what was happening in the room," says Bergquist. "Everything on this record is recorded live, so you're hearing the sound of a band leaning in and conjuring something in real time."
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World also showcases the developing vocal chemistry that's become an increasingly prominent element of Over the Rhine's performances, as featured on such new numbers as "All Over Ohio" and "Earthbound Love Song."
"In the past, I've always been gun shy about singing, and would actually have a fair bit of physical pain whenever I tried to sing," Detweiler admits. "But after years of working together, Karin gently encouraged me to try singing through the pain to see if there was anything on the other side, and I think I finally learned how to relax. This is the first record where you can really hear us singing together. It feels a little bit like starting a new band."
Native Ohioans Detweiler and Bergquist launched Over the Rhine as a quartet in the spring of 1989, naming the ensemble after the historic, bohemian Cincinnati neighborhood Over-the-Rhine, where they lived and first wrote and recorded together. Their early demos and performances quickly struck a chord with listeners, and they already had a solid local following by the time they launched their recording career with a pair of well-received independently-released albums, Till We Have Faces (1991) and Patience (1992).
Over the next two decades, Over the Rhine continued to build a musically and emotionally potent catalogue, encompassing the studio albums Eve (1994), Good Dog Bad Dog (1996), Films For Radio (2001), Ohio (2003), Drunkard's Prayer (2005), The Trumpet Child (2007) and The Long Surrender (2011), the holiday-themed The Darkest Night of the Year (1996) and Snow Angels (2006), the live Changes Come (2004), and a series of limited-edition CDs featuring live, rare and unreleased material.
The fierce independent streak that has fueled Over the Rhine from the start asserted itself when Bergquist and Detweiler decided to release 2007's The Trumpet Child on their own Great Speckled Dog label (named after the couple's Great Dane, Elroy). The Long Surrender marked the band's first venture into fan-funded recording.
"We are blessed with an incredibly devoted audience who've assured us that they have invited our music into many of the significant milestones a human can experience," Detweiler states, adding, "People have told us that they fell in love, or walked down the aisle, or conceived, or went off to war, or buried loved ones, or gave birth to our music. And so forth. At the end of the day, what more can a songwriter ask for?"
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World's effortlessly engaging, timelessly resonant songs more than justify such loyalty, once again validating Over the Rhine's enduring musical mission.
"We see our catalog as our life's work," Bergquist concludes. "It's imperfect and broken, but we've also come to see our records as strangely beautiful and valid in their own way—much like life itself.”
Jodie Gates is a thirty-year veteran in the professional dance field and has substantiated a remarkably wide-ranging career as an innovative choreographer, director, educator, producer and dancer. She is internationally recognized as a leader in the dance world with her choreographic work for professional companies, the creation of the California-based non-profit organization Laguna Dance Festival and directing educational programs at the university level.
Gates is Vice Dean and Director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. In this role she hopes to shape the next generation of extraordinary artists and curious thinkers in the dance field. The USC Kaufman School of Dance will be opening their doors to the first BFA freshman class in the fall of of 2015.
Jodie is founder and artistic director of the award winning Laguna Dance Festival based in southern California. This non-profit organization was founded in 2005 and serves the community by offering diverse educational opportunities and presents performances at venues throughout Laguna Beach.
She has established herself among the elite in neo classical dance choreography. Characterized by vivid articulation of balletic vocabulary and rich musicality her work has been called “visually compelling, powerful, beautiful,” Philadelphia Inquirer, and praised for “showing considerable skill at construction, moving dancers seamlessly on and off stage” New York Times. Recognized by American Ballet Theatre for her choreographic excellence after being named the Altria/ABT Fellow, a recent recipient of the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works (NEW) Program for her ballet Embellish created for Colorado Ballet, and honored by the American Association of University Womenfor her achievement in the arts, all of these achievements are merits representing the scope and breathe of her work within the art form.
She has worked as rehearsal director for the Joffrey Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet and has been an invited guest teacher for professional dance companies such as the Frankfurt Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Scottish Ballet among others. Gates continues to teach master classes, conduct lectures, and stage the ballets of William Forsythe around the world.
She has danced as a principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and as an international guest artist. She has recently choreographed ballets for Ballet West, Staatsballett Berlin in Germany, Colorado Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, American Ballet Theatre II, CorbinDances, BalletX, The Juilliard School, Washington Ballet, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and several other companies nationally. She is also responsible for teaching, staging and producing William Forsythe’s ballets world-wide.
Her professional dance career began in 1981 with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City under the artistic direction of Robert Joffrey. In 1995, she joined The Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal ballerina performing title roles in numerous full-length classical ballets. She then danced for five years with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany until 2004.
Ms. Gates has toured internationally as a choreographer, master teacher and artist throughout North and South America, Mexico, Russia, Asia, Australia and Europe. She has been featured as a dancer in two television programs from the PBS Great Performance series and can be seen on video in Billboards, the Joffrey Ballet’s rock-ballet by the musical artist Prince. Gates has also appeared on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno, a special presentation at the White House, and has been featured at several international festivals and in numerous television events.
Adam grew up in Dallas, Texas and studied visual arts and acting from an early age. At 14 he began his dance training at the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In 1999 he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from The Juilliard School and then went on to perform with The Limon Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre and The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. While at Juilliard Adam choreographed his first group dance, Beyond, which won the Hector Zaraspe Prize for Choreography. This piece set his Choreographic career in motion and was quickly taken into the repertoires of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Met Columbus and The Louisville Ballet.
Andrew Hubbard and wife/artistic partner Missy Lay Zimmer co-founded Exhale Dance Tribe, one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, and Planet Dance, a dance education performance project. Hubbard’s dance and choreography credits include Broadway companies of CATS and Footloose, Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, a Dr. Pepper commercial, Guiding Light and The Young and the Restless. He’s appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, inDance Magazine, Dance Spirit and Anatomy 2. Hubbard was on faculty at the acclaimed Broadway Dance Center in New York City and has taught at numerous institutions and universities including Cincinnati Ballet, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and SCPA. With Zimmer, Hubbard has created choreography for Cincinnati Ballet’s New Works 2009 and 2010 as well as 2011’s Infamous Love Songs with Over the Rhine.
MISSY LAY ZIMMER
Missy Lay Zimmer is co-founder of Exhale Dance Tribe and Planet Dance with partner Andrew Hubbard. Her choreography and dance credits include the Broadway and national companies of CATS and Jesus Christ Superstar, and co-choreography for Mariah Carey’s video All I Want for Christmas. Zimmer’s choreography earned her an award for Broadway Cares Equity Fight AIDS’ Easter Bonnet Competition. She also holds the 2007 CEA for Critical Achievement in Choreography. Zimmer trained at SCPA, CCM Preparatory Department and Joffrey Ballet. She was a faculty member at the Broadway Dance Center (NYC) and has taught master classes for Cincinnati Ballet and CCM. With Hubbard, Zimmer has created choreography for Cincinnati Ballet’s New Works 2009 and 2010 as well as 2011’s Infamous Love Songs with Over the Rhine.