Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Over the Rhine - Live from Nowhere Vol 2

I try not to review albums the day I get them because it usually takes me a few times through to really get it and to feel like I have something intelligent to say about it. For example, I STILL haven't written anything about Arcade Fire's Neon Bible because I'm still working out what to say other than "I like it."

However, there have been a few exceptions - albums that grab me so quickly that I can't resist writing about it. Case in point - the new Over the Rhine album, Live from Nowhere Vol 2 arrived in the mail today and it is a delight. The Live from Nowhere series is a now yearly collection of live recordings from various venues which so far have included some new and different live recordings of OTR songs and some killer cover versions that haven't shown up on any of their studio albums. This is a chance for OTR to put out an album for fans with as sort of scrapbook of the year's tours - including the Christmas tour that came through Holland, MI in December that Lynnae and I saw together (where her Over the Rhine infatuation really took hold.) This is a limited edition release that is signed and hand-numbered (I got number 2600! - the exclamation point has been written there too on my CD case.)

The first thing I noticed about the new album was how amazingly clear the recording is - it seems like Linford and Karin are right in the room with you. But the performances - they just jump right out of the speakers and into your heart. The album opens with one of the more stunning songs from Drunkard's Prayer, "I Want You to Be My Love" and the song sets the tone for the whole album: intimate, flawless and compelling. I haven't heard it enough to even have picked a favorite yet but the vibe brings me right back to the fourth row at the Knickerbocker Theater for the outstanding show they gave. But the violinist they have on a few of the songs wasn't on that tour with them and, whoever it is, is fabulous!

This album is great. It's a small band playing great tunes with a remarkable vocalist. It doesn't get much better than this. Order it before they sell out! (Live from Nowhere Vol 1 ended up on itunes so there is still hope if you miss out.)

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