Over the Rhine at the Lincoln Theatre
"There is something to be said for tenacity/ I'll hold on to you if you'll hold on to me."
When Karin Bergquist sings those lines on "The Laugh of Recognition," the opening track to Over the Rhine's dusk-tinged new album "The Long Surrender," it's only natural to think of her enduring partnership with husband and bandmate Linford Detweiler.
Since forming 20 years ago in Cincinnati, the band has built one of the most devoted cult audiences in music, exemplified last month when fans flew in from around the world to participate in the band's weeklong musical train tour of the Southwest.
Tuesday, a string of more conventional tour dates brings them to the renovated Lincoln Theatre, the kind of intimate, ornate venue ideally suited for the jazzy torch song noir Over the Rhine is making these days.
"The Long Surrender" is the duo's first album of original material since 2007, born of a tumultuous period that saw Detweiler bury his father and uncle. Three years is longer than Over the Rhine's usual interim, but in a recent phone interview Detweiler said the delay was necessary.
"It seems like when it comes to writing, I'm learning a lot about patience," Detweiler said. " Sometimes songs, they have something that they want to teach you or reveal and you just have to kind of wait for it, and it can't be rushed. A lot of my heroes, people like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, you sort of see that patience built into their work. So we had to really sit with the writing for a while on this one and let it happen."
When the songs finally came to fruition, Bergquist and Detweiler traveled to Pasadena to record with Joe Henry at the Garfield House, the historic home of President Garfield's widow. It's now home for Henry, the in-demand producer responsible for albums like Solomon Burke's "Don't Give Up On Me" and Elvis Costello's "The River in Reverse."
Henry assembled a backing band and asked Over the Rhine's core couple to watch an old black-and-white Italian film for inspiration. After five days of live sessions, the album was done.
"Once [Henry] had the band in place, which he selected, then he very much just sort of steered us out to sea and we just sort of discovered what was out there," Detweiler said.
The end product is at once gloomy and vivacious, minimal and sultry - the work of a patient, seasoned songwriter and a gifted singer who have stuck together long enough to know each other inside-out.
Over the Rhine
8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7
769 E. Long St., King-Lincoln