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In these days when labels are slapped on everything willy-nilly, a band has three choices: go with the flow and fit snugly into an established niche, defy convention by creating a brand-new style or delve into so many styles that, short of rattling off a grocery list of roots and influences, the music would be impossible to practically categorize. Over the Rhine fits into the latter.
As to what to call the music, Over The Rhine said it best themselves: “post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop.” No argument here. That is exactly what they are, and more.
They have been compared to 10,000 Maniacs, the Innocence Mission, U2, and Shawn Colvin, but the band's personality seems to owe more to its literary influences (which include Dylan Thomas, C.S. Lewis, and T.S. Eliot). Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, who made Paste Magazine's 100 Best Living Songwriters list,
expertly write fine and varied songs where folk, rock and American roots music caress and kiss as exquisitely beautiful as Van Morrison’s most graceful efforts.
Karin and Linford are not only top-notch performers — they know just how to pick a backing band, structure a set list, work a crowd — but they seem like downright good people, too. This is a band which has been making music for 20+ years, is loved fiercely by their fans, and does it all while hovering just under the mainstream.