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Over the Rhine

Love and Revelation – 2019 (Great Speckled Dog)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Some might say all you need to know about Over The Rhine is its primary lead vocalist, Karin Bergquist. And that's true; her angelic singing - alone throughout "Love & Revelation" - makes the album well worth your ear time. Although he doesn't sing as much as his wife, Linford Detweiler's presence - particularly as a songwriter - is also beautifully conspicuous here. It's a strong album, from start to finish.

The sonic tone is mostly quiet and acoustic. Its title track, for example, sounds a little like a Eurythmics' soul music workout, had alternately Annie Lennox and David Stewart chosen an unplugged musical route. "Betting On The Muse," where Detweiler takes the lead, speaks thoughtfully about creative inspiration. In contrast to the R&B-inspired "Love & Revelation," "Leavin' Days," a folk-ish song about - one suspects - the hard road life of professional musicians and is colored by Greg Leisz's lovely mandolin. Leisz also contributes electric and pedal steel guitar to the album. Usual producer, Joe Henry, wasn't available to produce this project, but many of his regular studio musicians contribute to it, including Jay Bellerose on drums and Patrick Warren handling keyboards and string arrangements.

While the album closes with the wordless "An American In Belfast," the immediately preceding acoustic guitar-supported "May God Love You (Like You've Never Been Loved)" caps the album like a church service benediction. "We're not curable, but we're treatable," Bergquist sings quietly and hopefully, "and that's why I still sing/May God love you like you've never been loved." The song is perfectly heartfelt and lovely.