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Over the Rhine 2021 Christmas Tour Thoughts : One December, not long after Over the Rhine began recording and touring, we were invited to perform some seasonal songs on a public radio station. So we worked up a few carols and traditional tunes. It actually felt really good and conjured up an unusual mix of feelings from childhood: innocence, loss, wonder, joy, sadness. I think we were surprised.

People must have tuned into the radio broadcast, because we began receiving inquiries as to whether we had recorded any of our Christmas songs. In December of 1996 – can it really be 25 years ago? – we recorded and released our first song cycle of some of the Christmas carols that still haunted us. We included a few original tunes and called our wintry mix The Darkest Night Of The Year. Folks began snatching up copies and seemed to agree that they hadn’t heard anything quite like it.

We began playing concerts around the Midwest every December and found that the rooms were usually packed full of people who had bundled in out of the cold. If you stepped outside during intermission, you could make ghosts with your breath in the crisp night air. And it was dark – oh so dark: a time of year with its own music.

A decade later, in 2006, we released our first full collection of original Christmas/holiday songs called Snow Angels. What is it about Christmas music and the undeniable gravitational pull it exerts on some songwriters? So many Christmas songs have already been written. I think we are genuinely curious about the ones that haven’t yet been written.

We continued to tour every December and these special year-winding-down concerts began to feel like an annual tradition – gatherings of extended musical family, without whom, we’d be homeless. We released our third holiday album of original songs, Blood Oranges In The Snow, in December of 2014. One enthusiastic fan wrote to us, I just love your new Christmas album, Blood On The Oranges. We’re dark but not that dark.

On our 2021 tour, we will be leaning into some harmonies and making an intimate but hopefully holy ruckus. It won’t be all Christmas music: we’ll certainly mix in tunes from many of our records along the way. But hopefully it’s still true; that you haven’t heard anything quite like it. And after the strange and surreal season we’ve all been through, when stages all around the world went dark, how could the music not throw off much-needed healing sparks? We need this.

We hope you’ll join us, Linford Detweiler

Carrie Newcomer: Carrie Newcomer is a songwriter, recording artist, performer and educator. She has been described as a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe and one who “asks all the right questions” by Rolling Stone Magazine. Carrie has 19 nationally released albums on Available Light & Concord/Rounder Records including Until Now, The Point of Arrival and The Beautiful Not Yet. Newcomer has released three books of poetry & essays, A Permeable Life: Poems and Essays, The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems and Essays & Lyrics, and Until Now: Poetry by Carrie Newcomer. Her song “I Should’ve Known Better” appeared on Nickel Creeks’ Grammy-winning gold album This Side, and she earned an Emmy for her PBS special An Evening with Carrie Newcomer.

Recent appearances include PBS Religion and Ethics and Krista Tippett’s On Being. In 2009 and 2011 Newcomer was invited by the American Embassy of India to be a cultural ambassador, resulting in her interfaith benefit album Everything is Everywhere with master of the Indian Sarod, Amjad Ali Khan. In 2013 Carrie traveled to Kenya and the Middle East, performing in schools, spiritual communities and hospitals assisting AIDS patients. In 2015 Carrie’s first musical, Betty’s Diner: The Musical was produced by Purdue University. In 2016 Carrie was awarded an honorary degree in Music for Social Change from Goshen College. In 2019 she received The Shalem Institutes’s Contemplative Voices Award.

In recent years Carrie joined with the author Parker J. Palmer on several projects, including The Growing Edge collaboration which explores growing edges, personally, vocationally and politically. Together they create live events, personal growth retreats, and the highly rated The Growing Edge Podcast that features authors, activists, poets and musicians, and online conversation starters for book and other conversation groups. Spirituality and Health Magazine named Parker & Carrie in the top ten spiritual leaders for the next 20 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Carrie was involved with many creative online projects, including the creation of her own streaming studio, Available Light Studios. She helped found a new online concert platform, Mandolin, with her husband Robert Meitus and has continued to perform and present workshops in person and online. Carrie is known for her low and resonant voice “..as rich as Godiva Chocolate” according to The Austin Statesman, for her musical depth and the progressive spiritual content of her songs, poetry and workshops, and for her continued work in justice, spiritual and interfaith communities, and health and hunger organizations. She lives in the wooded hills of South Central Indiana with her husband and two shaggy rescue dogs.

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