Over the Rhine wsg The Milk Carton Kids
Calvin College, Grand Rapids
Sept. 21, 8 p.m.
$20 public, $10 with Calvin ID
calvin.edu/sao, (616) 526-6282
In 1949, the famed Welsh poet Dylan Thomas moved to a little town called Laugharne, and there had a small writing shack where he sought inspiration for his work during the last four years of his life. And it was to this very same shack that Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the husband and wife duo that make up folk/Americana outfit Over the Rhine, went seeking inspiration themselves.
"The first time we were invited to play a music festival in England, several of us piled in a car and drove to Wales to find that little shack," said Detweiler. "When you make a connection with somebody's writing, it's very much a soul connection. You feel compelled to make that trip and breathe the air or whatever. It made a huge impression on me. It felt like sacred ground."
So when the two moved to their current home in Ohio, dubbed Nowhere Farm, they knew they wanted a similar space to create.
"We always dreamed of having a little special place set aside for writing," Detweiler said. "There was a little spring house here on the farm, and we eventually got it rehabbed and turned into a quiet room where we can get some writing done."
Detweiler and Bergquist have called Nowhere Farm their home for the past eight years, and during that time have learned quite a bit about its history and the nature that surrounds it. And through this acclimation they found what eventually became the band's newest record, Meet Me At The End Of The World.
"When we moved out here we didn't know the names of much of anything in terms of the trees, the birds that were singing, and the crazy weeds and wildflowers that we were encountering," Detweiler said. "These objects and things started to appear in our songs, and we realized we had a few dozen songs that were kind of loosely revolving around our home."
The band explores some new musical territory in the new release, a 19-song double album, including some additional vocal work from Detweiler, something Bergquist has been encouraging him to do more.
"You'll notice Karin and I singing a bit more harmony together," Detweiler said. "Part of the story of this record is that more than ever we're really sort of harmonizing and using the two voices in ways we never have in the past. It almost feels like we're starting a new band. That's hard to do after 20 years."