Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I hope we plant a seed

I drove out to Boulder this past Sunday to be in the audience to see Over the Rhine be a guest on Boulder based ETown radio variety show.

It was a day of the sort I love, a nice drive in the car, beautiful Colorado weather, plenty of time to relax, drink coffee, sit in the sun reading Lord of the Rings, shop and people watch at the Pearl Street Mall, have a nice Indian dinner and glass of wine alone, all followed by Over the Rhine. :)

When I bought my ticket in the afternoon I asked the underwhelmed cashier what time I ought to arrive since it was general admission. He said at seven, as if that was obvious- I thought it started at seven? But maybe that means doors. SO when I got there promptly at seven and it was already packed I was only mildly surprised. Still I went and ordered a Fat Tire draft at the bar just as they closed and the lights went down. Crap. The theater looked pretty full and now it was also dark and I had only my chill glass to comfort me.

So I approached one of the volunteers sheepishly and asked him to help me find as seat.

"You're alone?"

I nodded.

His face lit up, "I have a great seat for you."

And he did- he led me to the second row of the mid section, a stone's throw from all the mics and guitar stands. Yes! I knew there was a reason I'd decided to do this solo.

The lineup was three acts- the musical group the BoDeans (you would recognize their three-years-after-the-fact hit which was the theme song for Party of Five), I'll stick to Over the Rhine except to say that one of them had an Our Lady of Guadalupe sticker on his guitar and that, as they wailed their harmonies I glimpsed Karin and Linford stage right who became engrossed as the song progressed, nodding their heads together exactly in time. Next was OtR and also author, Doug Fines.

The setlist was minimal, being just a one hour edited program, and all from "The Trumpet Child." They started, as with the album, with "I Don't Wanna Waste Your Time" (the youtube at the top, a concert in Chicago which was coincidently the first time I saw them), then added "Trouble," "On A Roll," and "If A Song Could Be President."

In their interview they shared a little about the album (as much as they've shared in interviews elsewhere and on their website) which I enjoyed even though I didn't hear anything new. I love the idea behind "The Trumpet Child." What will that final trumpet sound like? And the song itself is so yearning, I love that. The mouthpiece is a glowing coal... I don't know if that is a Jeremiah reference or not but it's beautiful. There are so many apocalyptic songs that are Biblical or storied and yet don't have the poeticism of St. John himself or a Spirit-filled imagination. I think Karin and Linford have both.

All their music is infused in that way but this album just weds their talents in really abundant ways. I love the inspiration for "I Don't Wanna Waste Your Time," the idea that if we don't go deep it's really not even worth the going. It leads to some interesting questions for those who love music- what constitutes music we don't need? What sort of music do we need more of?

My favorite songs on "The Trumpet Childs" are definitely the title track, "Trouble" (because a 5 o'clock shadow is indisputably sexy and this displays Karin's voice so well), "On a Roll," because i could wake up that song and be prepared for an amazing day, "Don't Wait For Tom," I told Linford I loved this song because the imagery is so beautiful and powerful, it's just a very unique song and I love that its quirkiness and there is something seductive about it too. Finally, I also really enjoy "If a Song Could Be President." I think along with Derek Webb's "Savior on Capitol Hill" this is my favorite election year song.

Overall this CD is just so wonderful. It's supremely listenable- from the elliptical machine to a book and a glass of wine, to a night of hopeful yearning and romance.

I'm so glad I got to see them once again live, I know I'll always jump at the chance in the future. And I know my time will be anything but wasted.

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