Over The Rhine - Meet Me At The End Of The World as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooth

There truly is nothing like the tuneage of OTR.

Meet Me At The Edge Of The World
Artist: Over The Rhine
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Duration:  19 tracks, 1:09:46, 2 discs

Over The Rhine is an alternative rock / folk band independent of the big label and regulations which accompany it. With a wide fan base and a history of musical quality bar none, Over The Rhine (OTR) is what music should be. Music as art written and performed from the heart of the artist and not radio-ready, next best pop offering, gonna sell-a-million made for profit music. This is real. Oh, so real…

Meet Me At The Edge Of The World is the first of two OTR projects for 2013 funded by its fans, with the second being a Christmas offering later this year. All songs are written by the band’s founders, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquest, and as always are well written and performed, always slightly dark and longing, always eclectic and exciting. Always, consistently OTR.

There is nothing about an OTR album, which segregates the collection into a few ‘good’ songs, and others that are ‘not as good’. With OTR they are all good, like nature’s perfection. Not perfect in a man-made sense but natural, fitting, and right in every way. Each song melds with the next and the entirety becomes one in its own songbook. This is true of their entire catalog and a very large catalog it is!

Over the years, the true OTR fan has matured along with OTR’s musical offerings. Meet Me At The Edge Of The World continues their movement from the years of rock and ballad to more ballad, sometimes leaning from folk to country. Here there is a few of the old rockers while most are slower, heart felt ballads heavy on slide and soft on rhythm.

Here there is far more acoustic guitar and slide, and far less keyboards than past offerings. Here there is a far greater country sound and fewer rockers than albums past. Here there is all the heart felt lyrics and meaningful melody as in collections past but with a warmth and maturity only the years can give, but still with just a little of OTR’s classic quirkiness to make for a good smile.

“Meet Me At The Edge Of The World” opens the first set with a slow and easy classic OTR song of longing spiced with a little country sound via slide guitar. Melodic and rambling, like a stroll on an oak covered country lane, follows in “Called Home”.

“Sacred Ground” has bouncing rhythm with great bass and percussion plowing the way for mournful, thought provoking lyrics.

Meandering, endearing, soft and sensuous vocals, melody, and story are found in “I’d Want You”, “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”, “Highland Country” and “Wait”. “Gonna Let My Soul Catch My Body” is classic OTR rock with electricity and movement. A great transition to a slower paced, introspective piece is found with “All Of It Was Music” whose lyrics might suggest OTR history straight from the heart of the band.

The duet of Bergquist and Detweiler share a song of life, love, and their home state in the soft, sweet ballad “All Over Ohio” to open the second set. Simple, heartfelt songs follow in “Earthbound Love Song”, “Against The Grain”, “Wildflower Bouquet”, and the bluesy “It Makes No Difference”. Soft slide and percussion bring flavor to “Blue Jean Sky”, a song of the simpler times and the old, worn clothes of our past with chorus ‘Underneath the blue jean sky, open up your love, lay it on me. Underneath the blue jean sky, it’s just a failed blue jean sky. Give me a swag of a little kickass music. All the ghosts are in the tree.’

A smooth transition is made to the instrumental, “Cuyahoga” (not to be confused with the REM song – perhaps the same Ohio river though). This rare OTR instrumental has a very strong melodic presence. Bergquist's sultry vocals are well matched with upbeat guitar in “Baby If This Is Nowhere” providing a bouncing melody that will not let your toe-tapping stop! Another instrumental is given in “The Birds Of Nowhere Farm” with slow piano accented by slide.

A wonderful song to complete a wonderful collection, “Favorite Time Of Light” perfectly leaves the listener with soft, quiet remembrances like sitting on a shaded park bench in the quiet of the evening late in life, smiling at time well spent.

Meet Me At The Edge Of The World is music as only OTR can deliver. There truly is nothing like the tuneage of OTR.


Scott S Mertens


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