"I wanna do better/I wanna try harder/I wanna believe down to the letter/Jesus and Mary, can you carry us across this ocean into the arms of forgiveness?"
— from "Long Lost Brother"
Over the Rhine could be the most acclaimed "Christian artist" you've never heard of. Operating very much at an underground, grassroots level, the husband–wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have earned loyal followings in mainstream and Christian circles (though you won't likely find their music in Christian bookstores). They've opened for the Cowboy Junkies and played in bars, but they've also played the Cornerstone music festival and at Christian colleges. They were also featured on Squint's 2000 tribute album to Roaring Lamb artists.
Ohio, the duo's 10th album, is a 2–disc, 21–song career–defining masterpiece—their "White Album," if you will. Sort of a mix of Sixpence None the Richer, Sarah McLachlan, and Lucinda Williams, Over the Rhine has masterfully blended sophisticated pop with folk, country, and gospel on Ohio. Weaving together an array of folk instruments, the typically mellow duo keeps things impressively eclectic for 90 minutes of music. Bergquist, widely regarded as one of the finest vocalists alive, is dynamic throughout, and both she and Detweiler (who offers some of his richest piano work to date) paint each song differently through the emotions of the lyrics and melodies.
Over the Rhine isn't overtly Christian in their music, but the foundation is clearly there. They won't preach at you or necessarily even point you in the right direction, but they will offer you a fascinatingly poetic faith–based perspective. Part of the joy is discovering what their music means to you personally, ...1