October 15, 2007

Over the Rhine

One of the benefits of working in a bookstore (in addition to ALL those books!) is getting to listen to all sorts of new music each month. Of course, by the end of the month (or actually, by the end of the first week) I'm pretty tired of the same dozen or so albums that are played repeatedly throughout the day. However, every so often I hear a voice that stops me in my tracks, causing me to stop what I'm doing and head back to the music department to ask what's playing. Last month I discovered Jeremy Fisher's Goodbye Blue Monday. In spite of hearing his voice day in and day out, I wound up with the album and still find myself putting it in my Bose during the weekend. It's great to listen to while I'm puttering around the house.

My most recent acquisition is Over the Rhine's The Trumpet Child. As with Jeremy Fisher, I'd never even heard of Over the Rhine, but immediately fell in love with Karin Bergquist's voice. One of my favorite songs is entitled If A Song Could Be President (words and music: Detweiler). It's really best to hear the lyrics with the music, but I'll go ahead and share them anyhow:

If a song could be president
We'd hum on Election Day
The gospel choir would start to sway
And we'd all have a part to play

The first lady would free her hips
Pull a microphone to her lips
Break our hearts with Rhythm and Blues
Steve Earle would anchor the news

We'd vote for a melody
Pass it around on an MP3
All our best foreign policy
Would be built on harmony

If a song could be president
We'd fly a jukebox to the moon
All our founding fathers' 45's
Lightnin' Hopkins and Patsy Cline
If a song could be president

If a song could be president
We could all add another verse
Life would teach us to rehearse
Til we found a key change

Break out of this minor key
Half-truths and hypocrisy
We wouldn't need an underachiever-in-chief
If a song could be president

We'd make Neil Young a Senator
Even though he came from Canada
Emmylou would be Ambassador
World leaders would listen to her

They would show us where our country went wrong
Strum their guitars on the White House lawn
John Prine would run the FBI
All the criminals would laugh and cry
If a song could be president

This is a great album. Definitely one to turn up while driving around town with the sunroof open or walking on our new treadmill. My favorite track is Don't Wait for Tom. You can't help but dance around the room or tap your toe to the beat. Fans of Kim Richy and Kate Campbell are certain to enjoy this. Click on the album link above and you can listen to samples of all the tracks. Personally, I'm planning to check out their previous albums. Enjoy!


  1. As a fan of Emmylou, John Prine, Neil Young and Steve Earle and NOT of the present administration -- it didn't take me very long to go over and order this CD. Thanks for sharing -- I love it. It's just what a needed a very stressful time.

  2. I smiled at the name of the band. I just finished a second reading of The Tale of Hill Top Farm in which Beatrix Potter is doing the drawings for her "little book" called Jeremy Fisher. I haven't heard of either of these. It seems sad that a store would play the same cds over and over when there are so very many out there that could use the publicity. Who chooses? Is it corporate or does the label pay the store? Or can the employees choose? I've noticed in B&N sometimes they feature a cd at the checkout and wonder who decides. The last time I was there, the Once soundtrack was the one. I'd be interested in the dozen they have in rotation, and why they are chosen.

  3. hattie12:35 PM

    Hi Les,

    I am terribly interested in "The Great and Terrible Beauty." I love novels that take place during The Victorian Age. I especially love it when the main character is not the run of the mill young girl or woman, doing what is "ladylike" and true to all the ideals of that period.

    I also love Alice Hoffman. Her books, as you know, have a bit of that supernatural thread throughout the pages which I love.

    Lastly, I love Libba Bray's title, "A Great and Terrible Beauty." The title just jars my curiosity. I have to read the book in order to satisfy that doggone curiosity. Plus, I do love the bookcover.

    Thanks for throwing my name in the hat.


  4. Maudeen - I just knew you'd be interested in this album!! Can't wait to hear what you think of it. Enjoy.

    Nan - I think you'd enjoy both of these cds. Let me know if you'd like to store my archival back-up copies in your home.

    Here's the skinny on the in-store playlists. Corporate decides which albums to feature each month. I'm not sure how they decide, but it's pretty obvious that the albums are soon-to-be-released and it's a way of advertising them to our shoppers. It's really only the employees who suffer (and that's really an exaggeration) since most of our customers aren't in the store Monday thru Sunday, from 9 am to 11 pm. And, we do try to mix the albums up a bit so we're not listening to the same ones day in and day out. However, I can't tell you how many times I've heard the new Clapton cd or the new Mark Knopfler. Or a Tribute to Fats Domino. I love them all, but like anything, too much of a good thing isn't always good.

  5. Hattie - Welcome to my blog! So good to see your comment here.

    I enjoy Alice Hoffman's works, too. Still have several in my stacks waiting to be read...

    Your name's in that hat for the drawing. Good luck! By the way, I love the cover art, too.

  6. Oh I love discovering new music. I haven't heard of this so I will have to check it out on iTunes soon. Glad Nan asked about how the music choices are made... I wondered that too. Not surprised that it depends on corporate of course.

  7. Hi, Les!

    You're so right about the music and bookstores! Sometimes when I am browsing I am so mesmerized by the music that I find myself spending more time at the store not so much for the books but because I want to be able to listen to the entire album. I bought Road Stewart's "The Great American Songbook" after first listening to it play at my local bookstore. At the moment they are playing a lot of "Feist", have you heard of her?

    I am going to have to take a listen to Jeremy Fischer. I have heard some music by "Over The Rhine" on Yahoo Launch (I think) but I like the words of "If A Song Could Be President" so I am going to revisit them. Thanks, Les!

  8. I've often wondered (having never worked in a store myself) if the employees at shops actually listen to the music played over the intercom day in and day out. I guess they do. Thanks for sharing these.

  9. I'm listening to the music now. It's beautiful. Thanks for telling us about these two CDs, Lesley. Hope you sharing music recommendations.

  10. Well, count me as a "me, too" as Over the Rhine has won me over...along with Jeremy Fischer. Thanks, too, for the story behind the story on the instore music choices. Keep the recommendations coming, Les!

  11. Iliana - Let me know what you think. Isn't it fun to discover new artists? Who are some of your favorites?

    Lotus - Thanks for the recommendation. I'm listening to samples of Feist as I type! I like her voice and the tempo of her songs are making me tap my feet. I just heard one song (1234 on The Reminder album) that sounds very much like Over the Rhine!

    Kookiejar - I don't know about the other employees, but I always listen to the music playing in the store. I suspect there are those who are able to tune it out, but music is such a part of my life that I can no more not listen to a song than not breathe! I start my work day at 7 am and I always take cds to listen to on the overhead speakers while I work. The music helps wake me up and puts me in a good mood.

    Booklogged - I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the music recs. I'll have more to share in the days to come. This is fun! :)

    Marcia - See my comment to Booklogged. :) I'm so happy you're enjoying the music.


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