I started the Album Club to get introductions to new music. The Trumpet Child – Over the Rhine, our January selection, introduced me to the americana genre of music. Prior to this, I thought Americana just referred to country kitsch with an overwhelming American-flag motif. Not my style, sorry. But I was pleased to find that the music didn’t leave a similar bad taste in my mouth.
Our friends at Wikipedia tell us:
Americana is an amalgam of roots musics formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and other external influential styles such as bluegrass.
My (somewhat questionable) taste in music steers me toward Top 40 pop hits and R&B/hip-hop tracks. If it’s got a good beat and I can shake my ass to it, I like it. Lyrics are mostly irrelevant, which leaves a lot of singer-songwriters out with me, while “producers” reign supreme. It’s a limited musical niche for sure, one I was looking to break out of with the help of my Album Club mates.
The Trumpet Child is not something I would have picked up on my own, but that’s the whole point. I wasn’t really expecting to even like it, much less love it. I had never heard of Over the Rhine, so I did a quick Google search to learn a bit about the husband-and-wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist. Wow, Karin’s kind of hot. Nice. But can she sing?
Oh, yes. She can sing.
I brought my usual overly managed style to my album review and did a spreadsheet that you’re welcome to view if you find yourself achingly bored. For this post, I’ll spare you my track-by-track analysis and just stick with the main points.
The album opens strong with two of my favorite tracks. Bergquist’s sultry vocals quickly suck you in on “I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time” and by the time you get to “Trouble,” you’re more than ready to have a little fun. “Nothing is Innocent” and “Let’s Spend the Day in Bed” are also high on my list. I enjoyed almost every track, even “If a Song Could Be President,” which hasn’t gotten much love from my fellow reviewers.
Two tracks scored a “Meh,” grade from me. “Desperate for Love” doesn’t do much for more. I don’t like the lyrics, and as a single woman, I certainly don’t like to think of myself as “desperate” for much of anything. “Waiting for Tom” is my least favorite track. It’s also the only track where Bergquist doesn’t take the lead on vocals. Maybe that’s a coincidence or maybe it’s not. I’m not familiar with Tom Waits’ work, so I didn’t get any of the references and there is just something about the arrangement that’s not working for me.
Overall, it’s a great album. I probably listened to it a half-dozen times and went back and listened to my favorite tracks a few times on their own as well. It’s definitely going into my regular rotation. I would love to see them perform live. And I just learned that Over the Rhine are performing TONIGHT and TOMORROW in Maryland. Due to a lack of funds and prior plans, I won’t be attending. But certainly not because of a lack of interest.