The Darkest Night of the Year

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The Darkest Night of the Year
Studio album by Over the Rhine
Released December 9, 1996
Genre Rock/pop
Length 44:17
Label Independent
Producer Linford Detweiler, Ric Hordinski
Over the Rhine chronology
Good Dog, Bad Dog
The Darkest Night of the Year
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Phantom Tollbooth (favorable)[2]

The Darkest Night of the Year is a Christmas album by the group Over the Rhine, released independently in 1996. It is their fifth studio album overall, and the last to feature the band's original lineup.

The album features six interpretations of traditional Christmas songs, three original instrumentals, three vocal compositions, and a second version of "Silent Night" featuring Terri Templeton, who was touring with Over The Rhine as a secondary vocalist at the time. Ten years later, Over The Rhine would release a second Christmas album, Snow Angels with a greater emphasis on original compositions.

This album is notable for being the first Over The Rhine album not to feature the photography of Michael Wilson. The cover illustration is by David Sheldon. Additionally, this is the only full-length OTR album to feature bassist Chris Dahlgren, who began touring with the band in 1996 to accommodate Linford Detweiler's move to keyboards.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The First Noel" (arranged: Detweiler and Dahlgren) (3:47)
  2. "Silent Night" (arranged: Bergquist and Hordinski) (3:43)
  3. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (arranged: Detweiler) (2:50)
  4. "Greensleeves" (arranged: Detweiler and Dahlgren) (2:49)
  5. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (arranged: Detweiler) (3:00)
  6. "Coal Train" (music: Hordinski) (2:43)
  7. "Thank You My Angel" (words and music: Detweiler, MacDonald, Powell) (4:12)
  8. "Mary's Waltz" (words and music: Detweiler) (3:59)
  9. "Up North Here Where the Stars... 1945" (music: Detweiler) (1:53)
  10. "Silent Night (duet)" (arranged: Detweiler) (3:11)
  11. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (arranged: Detweiler and Dahlgren) (2:02)
  12. "Amelia's Last" (words and music: Detweiler) (2:49)
  13. "A Little Lower Than the Angels" (music: Hordinski) (7:10)
  • The two versions of "Silent Night" are performed in different styles: the first being a full-band electric recording similar to the sound of Eve, while the second is a slower, acoustic reading featuring Norm Johns' upright bass.
  • "A Little Lower Than the Angels" takes its title from a lyric of Good Dog, Bad Dog's "All I Need Is Everything"; however the songs are not related musically.


  • Karin Bergquist: vocals
  • Linford Detweiler: Upright piano, acoustic guitar, harmonium, electric bass
  • Ric Hordinski: Guitars, e-bow
  • Chris Dahlgren: Acoustic bass
  • Brian Kelley: Drum kit

Additional Personnel[edit]

  • Norm Johns: Cello
  • Terri Templeton: additional vocal on "Silent Night (duet)"


  • Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11 Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Linford Detweiler in the Third Story Bedroom.
  • Tracks 6, 13 Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Ric Hordinski at Mersey Beat.
  • Track 2 Produced by Ric Hordinski and Linford Detweiler, Guitars and Drums Recorded and Mixed by Ric at Mersey Beat, assisted by Steve Harris, Vocals and Basses Recorded by Linford, Final Mix by Linford in the Bedroom.
  • Tracks 9, 12 Produced by Linford Detweiler, Recorded and Mixed by Dale Smith at Sound Images.