album reviews

Over the Rhine
The Trumpet Child
Great Speckled Dog (2007)

Ohio's Over the Rhine often gets lumped together with fellow chamber-folkies the Cowboy Junkies. But the key difference between the groups is in the vocals: Where the Junkies' Margo Timmins sings with a laid-back, breathy coo, Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist channels Billie Holliday with a throaty, sultry moan.

That jazzy flair suits Over the Rhine well; the Tom Waits paean "Don't Wait for Tom" oozes with the smoky vibe of a seedy piano bar, while Bergquist sounds wistfully nostalgic as she describes a lazy day at home on "Let's Spend the Day in Bed." On "Trouble," she flaunts a winkingly sassy attitude, which is further accented by the playful piano lines of her husband (and fellow Over the Rhine songwriter) Linford Detweiler.

The album ends on a bit of a misstep: "If a Song Could Be President" imagines a bizarre world where Canadian Neil Young is a senator and Steve Earle is a news anchor. The name-dropping comes across as too much of an inside joke, but overall, "The Trumpet Child" lives up to Bergquist's promise on the opening track: "I don't wanna waste your time/With music you don't need."

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 26 October 2007, Page WE06
.: The Trumpet Child on