Review Summary: Long-standing duo return with striking form.The Trumpet Child
is the tenth studio album by Over The Rhine, released independently in August of 2007. The record features a score of musicians, but the two true members of the group are the husband and wife duet of bassist/pianist/guitarist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/guitarist Karin Bergquist. Originally a quartet, they have slimmed down to just the two members and various hired musicians for touring. The band hails from Cincinatti, Ohio, also the place their name is derived from; they have opened for such acts as Bob Dylan.
Long-time listeners of the group are probably familiar with the dark, passionate music this group has been playing since the early nineties. This album is a bit of a departure from that, feeling a little brighter and less weighty, however it should not be a disappointment. Not all the passion is gone; songs like the title track are dark as ever.
Beginning with the beautifully orchestrated saxophone intro on “I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time” which turns into a melodic piano ballad, The Trumpet Child
is very enjoyable. From the teetering “Trouble” with its latin percussion and swaying piano line, to the pleasant driving string bass line on “Nothing Is Innocent”, the album satisfies. It features a plethora of instruments, piano, upright bass, horns, strings, saxophones, slide guitar, among other things, but the leading element of every track is Karin Bergquist’s wonderful voice. Her strong persona is what really sells the record. Tracks like “Desperate for Love” really make room for her to perform, and she lets her ability shine. Another positive of the record is the production. It is top-notch, yet at the same time the album is able to successfully create a folky feel you would not expect from such fine production.
Tracks of note include the title track, a powerful number, slowly crescendoing to a poignant point before falling to a soft piano solo. “Entertaining Thoughts” departs a little from the folk that drives the rest of the record, with a more regular pop tune reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian. That doesn’t make it any weaker, however, for the melody in the verse is golden. One of my favorite tracks is “On A Roll”, featuring a plunky slide guitar that sticks in my head seemingly eternally after a single listen. Again Bergquist’s vocals are terrific, leading the track, making it what it is.
Negatives and weak tracks to the album include “Who’ I Kiddin’ But Me”, a lackluster track with no standout melody or orchestration, however it still works with the album. “Don’t Wait For Tom” is a little homage from Detweiler to the legendary Tom Waits. It decently mimics the groovy drunken atmosphere Waits is known for, but its a pretty poor track. That and the closer “If A Song Could Be President” are both pretty terrible, the latter a below-average slab of contemporary country which the album would be far better without. Aside from those three tracks however, the album is great.
I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time
On a Roll
Nothing is Innocent