Over the Rhine’s new live CD, Live From Nowhere Volume One is part of a planned series of albums. The first volume is from the tour that came through town last November. There are no liner notes to see what shows the disc was recorded from or what lineup they used in those shows, but it sounds like a different setup than what I saw. When I saw them last year they re-created many of their songs which sounded much different than their album versions and they do that here, though on different songs and in different ways. The album mostly concentrates on songs from Drunkard’s Prayer, but includes some covers like Son of a Preacher Man. The joy in listening to this disc is the subtleties of the concert versions of these songs like the slower and jazz-influenced Faithfully Dangerous, the added guitar intro to Lookin’ Forward and the end of Drunkard’s Prayer where the music drops out leaving Karen’s voice to wrap around the words, “You’re my water, you’re my wine, you’re my whiskey from time to time.” As with all of OtR’s music the focus is their poetic lyrics, especially on anti-war tune Spark (It’s not the spark that caused the fire, It was the air you breathed that fanned the flame), Faithfully Dangerous (I’m drunk with angels taking flight, the heart that beats is yours inside me) and Born (Pour me a glass of wine, talk deep into the night, who knows what we’ll find).
I was talking about this album with a friend of mine who wondered out loud who needed more slightly different versions of songs from Over the Rhine who continuously puts out albums of live and b-side material. Well, for one thing… me. Almost all of their music affects me every time I listen to them and this is no different. While their studio albums are their best, Live From Nowhere is a great complement to their large catalog of music.
3.25 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale.