Guest / Limited Access /
The Long Surrender
Our Rating
5 Stars - Masterpiece
Average Rating
(3 user ratings) ADD YOURS Help
Release Date
February 8, 2011

Style: Acoustic folk, country, gospel, jazz; compare to Emmylou Harris, Joe Henry, Hem

Top tracks: "Undamned," "Rave On," "Infamous Love Song"

Singing about your marriage woes and eventual reconciliation is about as vulnerable as it gets—but that's just what Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, who have performed for 20-plus years as Over the Rhine, did on their 2005 album, Drunkard's Prayer. Still, I'd say The Long Surrender is the most intimately personal album this husband and wife have made yet.

The Surrender part of the title is apt, as they reached further out of their creative comfort zone than ever, enlisting ace producer Joe Henry to put these songs to tape. Henry favors an unobtrusive, organic process to making records, and here it results in OTR's best-sounding album ever. "Rave On," for example, was written as a rock song but is here performed as a folk song, finding its tension and momentum from a slow build of intricate sonic details—a finger-picked bass, a distant echo of strings. Henry enlists his son Levon to play sax on a couple of tracks, a small gospel choir to accompany "Only God Can Save Us Now," and even country singer Lucinda Williams for a duet vocal.

But it is foremost an album not only by but about Over the Rhine. Detweiler and Bergquist have been chasing the same muse for two decades now, and here they're still writing and singing about art and marriage—about partnerships both creative and romantic. These are songs about desperately broken people, with whispers of beauty and transcendence. They are songs about a grace that transforms.

Those strands run through the record, and manifest themselves most directly on the penultimate track, which bears this simple refrain: "All my favorite ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Music Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Subscriber Access Only
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
Current IssueWhen God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
Subscriber Access Only
When God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
The patience of the Lord can be a heavy burden.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
The Long Surrender
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.