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Over the Rhine

Snow Angels

(Great Speckled Dog; US: 2 Oct 2007; UK: Available as import)

While their first Christmas album, 1996’s The Darkest Night of the Year, was heavy on standards, Snow Angels relies on mostly original material. That turns out to be a strength, as multi-instrumentalist Linford Detweiler and vocalist Karin Bergquist bring the jazz-and-blues-tinged intimacy of 2007’s The Trumpet Child to these Christmas songs. Songs like “Darlin’ (Christmas is Coming)” and “Snowed in With You” winningly recall the Christmas music of yesteryear, meant to evoke a cozy, snowed-in cabin or townhouse rather than a bustling mega-mall. Only on “White Horse” do Detweiler and Bergquist border on schmaltz. Otherwise, they’re up to the task, with Bergquist sounding like a modern-day Nancy Wilson or Billie Holiday. The pair of standards are given fresh, earthy takes, while “Goodbye Charles” is a fitting Schulz/Guaraldi tribute. Snow Angels exudes the peace and quiet that everyone longs for at Christmastime, and does so with class.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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Over the Rhine - All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue
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4 Oct 2011
Their latest album was funded by their fans, Lucinda Williams stopped by to sing on a track, and the group's new record label is named after their dog. Welcome to the wonderful world of Over the Rhine ...
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The coarse, dry dirt is sensed below the sweet, blooming fields of this Ohio-grown duo. Karin and Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine, making music from the bittersweet notes in life for more than 20 years, now, talk with PopMatters 20 Questions about what must go into the ground to make things grow. Their latest, The Long Surrender, released this month.
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Despite its missteps, The Trumpet Child is a great record. After hearing it I was hooked on Over the Rhine all over again.
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3 Nov 2003
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