Photo of Karin Bergquist from the Over The Rhine Facebook page.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all BHT visitors and especially to my wife Pam, who set up this blog for me. Thanks, Pam, for all your love, inspiration and support.
Now, how about a love song that’s a little different?
“Rhapsodie” was just one of several intriguing tracks on Patience, the 1992 major label debut from the Cincinnati-based alt rock/Americana band, Over The Rhine. Written by singer-acoustic guitarist Karin Bergquist, its exquisite piano and strings arrangement, plus the line, “And I couldn’t love you any more than I do right now” might make this seem like a perfect choice for a first dance at a wedding. But Bergquist was singing about something deeper and more challenging; a love that endures hardships, and the way people in a relationship change over the years. A love that continues even after a couple has broken apart.
“And the cadences we hear/may grow different in the coming years,” Bergquist sings in a gorgeous but haunting voice. “But still I’ll tell you that I couldn’t love you any more than I do right now.” Later she adds, “And if you should ever leave/then I would love you for what you need.”
I interviewed Bergquist and bassist-keyboards player Linford Detweiler for the Illinois Entertainer when Patience first came out. Bergquist agreed that “Rhapsodie” was open to interpretation.
“I had a local artist approach me about doing a video for that,” she said. “He wanted to do it from an AIDS perspective. It’s broad enough to be more than a wedding song. I’m very pleased that it can be taken in different ways.”
Whatever meaning a listener takes away from “Rhapsodie,” it’s a beautiful and powerful reflection on love.