For Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the band came first but that doesn't necessarily mean the band comes first.

For Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the band came first but that doesn't necessarily mean the band comes first.

The two formed the Cincinnati-based band - named for a downtown Cincy neighborhood - more than 20 years ago and were married seven years later. OtR has essentially become a duo, recording and performing at times with additional musicians, so home life and work life are often intertwined.

"We are what is called an entrepreneurial couple," Detweiler told The Beat, adding with a chuckle, "It's not for the faint of heart.

"We use the metaphor that we're trying to grow two gardens," he explained. "Both require care and work and nurture and creativity. If you neglect one too long, it takes its toll.

"But we've definitely got some tomatoes in both gardens."

The couple still makes their home in southwest Ohio, although a few years back, they moved from Cincinnati to a "ramshackle" farm.

"We wanted a hideaway, a refuge," he said. "We love the energy of being on the road and traveling, but we wanted a place where we could get quiet.

"It's good for a writer to have roots," he added, suggesting there is an unquantifiable benefit to not having moved to Nashville, Austin or New York, despite the music industry's prominence in those other cities.

The couple set up a recording studio at the farm and have made several records there, including the brand-new The Long Surrender, which was also made via grassroots financing. The band did fundraising and pre-orders from fans, and Detweiler likened making the record to a barn-raising. He said the music industry has changed such that these kinds of ventures are not only possible but also practical and, hopefully, profitable.

"Twenty years ago, every band wanted to get signed to a major label," he explained. (OtR among them, making a couple records for the label IRS in the early '90s.) "I like the idea of creating a body of work with a group of people," he said.

The Long Surrender comes out 20 years after Over the Rhine's debut recording. Detweiler said their approach to making music hasn't really changed much, and that the songwriting process "is still mysterious.
"I think we assumed our little adventure would run its course and then we'd get back to real life," he said of OtR's early days. "Sooner or later, we realized it was real life."