Making Music with Over The Rhine

Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist aren’t your typical husband and wife. The pair forms the musical group, Over The Rhine. Together, they have been creating music for almost three decades. Their band name is derived from the name of the downtown neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the band got its start. We interviewed Bergquist and Detweiler in 2007 and talked about their working relationship, marriage and faith journey.


Bergquist opens up about how their working relationship affects their marriage.


“They’re very intertwined. So it’s hard for me to separate them. I’m sure that [Linford and I] are both fairly intuitive writers. I know that what is going on with me personally does end up in some form on the page or in the song, and I think that’s sort of a natural way for me to work it out. We actually led a songwriting workshop in Santa Fe and somebody asked the question, ‘Is writing as therapy a good thing?’ Some songwriters think writing as therapy is never a good thing, and I disagree. I think anytime you can put the pen to paper or type words on the screen and something comes out that is maybe trying to work its way out, I think that’s great. So whatever I’m dealing with or thinking about or living is going to end up in the song. It may not be overt. Sometimes it’s just a color or a line of the song. If our relationship is a big part of who we are, then it’s definitely going to end up in our music, and they’re very intertwined.”


Detweiler shares about how the couple stopped touring at one point to work on their marriage.


We hit a rough patch when we released our double album, Ohio. The album was getting great reviews. There was a lot of momentum. We were touring pretty heavily, and there again, I think the marriage was on autopilot a bit, which is a really dangerous place for a marriage to be. And it was a really hard decision, but we did shut everything down for a while and canceled a good bit of our national tour, and came home for about six weeks. I think probably the most amazing thing that came out of that was not only the fact that we were able to make a fresh start as a couple and salvage our relationship and move to a new place that was really good for both of us, but what was even more inspiring in some ways was the response we got from listeners and so many people who were truly disappointed that they weren’t going to have a chance to see the band, because they had really embraced the songs. So that was pretty heartening and pretty encouraging for us.”


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Bergquist reflects on her faith journey.


“For me, I was one of those people who, when I was a very little girl and I was asked the inevitable question, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I always knew I was going to be a singer. And that was something that I couldn’t define. I just knew that’s what I was going to do. It’s kind of weird if you think about it. I never really deviated from that much at all. That’s always been my track. I had a step-grandfather who was my best buddy. He used to take me everywhere-golfing, bowling, everywhere he went with his buddies. He was an agnostic, probably even closer to an atheist than he was willing to admit. I was four or five years old, and I started asking him questions, big questions, you know like kids do. Big ones that you can’t answer. And so one Sunday morning, my grandfather came downstairs in a suit, and my grandmother’s words to him were, ‘Where the hell do you think you’re going?’ And he said, ‘I’m taking Karin to church. She asked me about God, and don’t know what to tell her.’ So that was sort of a beginning of [faith] for me. My grandfather died about two years later of lung cancer. And he died a believer. I didn’t have any sway in that. I really didn’t know how big that big picture was at that time, but I remember the impact of it, so that had a strong influence on me. [After that], our family went back to church and through various denominations we trod…I can’t even count them…and there the story goes.”


Risen Reflections

Put the brakes on. Whether it is a marriage, friendship or family relationship each of us goes through periods where we might need to slow down and focus on a relationship to mend it. It can be difficult to say, “No,” to other things in order to prioritize that relationship, but hopefully in the long run it will be worthwhile. It can also be helpful to seek outside counsel. This can be a professional counselor, pastoral counselor or trusted friend that can help both parties sit down and talk things through.


Ask questions. It is okay to ask questions about what you believe. Pray and ask God to show you the answers to your questions. Take time to read the Bible and ask a pastor or small group leader to help you find the answers to your questions. There are also some great resources like, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” by Josh McDowell and “Case for Faith,” by Lee Strobel that answer some of the Christian faith’s difficult questions.


Reflect on your faith journey. Take this time this week to think about how you came to Christ. Write your story down and include any verses or quotes that were encouraging to you as you began your relationship with God. Pray and ask God to show you someone who you can share your spiritual story with. It might be a friend, classmate or co-worker. He might even want you to share it with a group at an outreach or Bible study. God wants to use our stories to help others come to know Him and to help others grow closer to Him. If you are having trouble communicating your faith story, ask a friend, small group leader or pastor if they can help you. Some churches and ministries even offer classes on how to share your faith. These can be a great resource for everyone.


To read our entire interview with Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of Over The Rhine, click here.






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