Greetings campers,

It's summertime and I rarely walk out of the house without pausing to pull a
small weed or two out of one of the flowerbeds. Jack says a weed is just a
flower growing in the wrong place, but he's not a gardener, as of yet. Quack
grass is not a flower under any circumstances.

It's been an unbelievable year for the tiger lilies. The grape vines have
really come into their own as well, although the squirrels keep eating the
green grapes. The squirrel population has exploded in the back yard again, so
I need to borrow a live trap from Michael Wilson. You have to drive at least
five miles before you drop the squirrels off, or they'll come back. I'm not
too worried about the grapes right now, but there is talk of taking a run at
a Grey Ghost Merlot one of these summers. Ever since I was a child and my
mother showed me pictures she took as a young woman traveling around Europe,
I've wanted to see a barefooted girl hitch up her skirt and tramp on
harvested grapes to crush out the juice.

The catalpa trees went to town this year: big heart-shaped leaves, hundreds
of flowers fifty feet or more off the ground. If you can't remember which
tree is a catalpa, look for the big bundles of beans. The tulip trees had a
banner year as well. When we were walking Willow in the woods, we kept trying
to figure out where all the flower petals and blossoms had come from, strewn
along the path.

"Was there a wedding?"

"Probably so." We had visions of rosy-cheeked, golden-curled flower girls
sprinkling exotic petals out of baskets. My oldest brother Conrad finally
pointed out it was the tulip trees dropping their blooms. Sure enough, we
leaned back and spotted the flowers hidden toward the sky in the leafy

When Conrad and his wife Kathy visited us this Spring with their five robust
country children, a walk in the woods felt completely different. Their
children, Jonathan, Hannah, Jesse, Rachel and Seth, *engage* with the earth:
they get down in the dirt on eager hands and knees. Rachel found a beautiful
snake skin that she carried home. Jesse ran ahead and came back with reports.
Jonathan caught two snakes with his bare hands, and one of the water snakes
bit him and drew a little blood. Conrad warned him that they were further
South then usual and had to be careful of snakes, but he wasn't too worried
because the snake didn't have fangs, just spiky, tiny teeth.

"We'll know something's the matter if you start babbling, if your sentences
begin to fall apart," Conrad said.

The children were splashing around in the creek knee deep overturning rocks,
reminding me that I should never walk by a creek without keeping my eyes
peeled for fossils. They had a contest to see who could cross the creek
walking on a fallen tree, the naked trunk slick with dampness and the greens
of tiny mosses and molds.

The children sleep in the attic of the Grey Ghost under eaves of odd angles.

In other news, we were informed that a horse gave birth earlier this year,
and the offspring was christened OTR Tribute, OTR for short. They thought OTR
was a filly at first, but it turned out to be a colt. He'll be entering some
initial competitions this August at the Ohio State Fair and then down in
Lexington, so keep your fingers crossed. The thought of a Thoroughbred named
OTR Tribute makes me very happy somehow.

In other news, we just realized that we're going to be playing our 10th
Cornerstone Festival this year. Unbelievable. I don't even remember how we
got hooked up with C-Stone Fest back in the early days of the band, but it's
hosted by an inner-city mission based in Chicago run by a wonderfully odd
assortment of bohemian philanthropists. The festival has grown over the years
and now draws about 25,000 people to the middle of nowhere to hear mostly
underground bands. Surreal, dusty, sweaty, somehow unforgettable. Anyway,
we've been honored by being invited back repeatedly, and here we go again.
Our friend Dave Nixon will be looking after our booth for us. Dave presided
at our wedding back in 1996 on a fine October day. If you want to volunteer
to help Dave out, stop by the booth, and he might sign you up for a shift so
that he can take a breather. He's a fine writer, good company, and his
daughters' band, Brownhouse, will be playing the festival for the first time
this year...

Unsung is finally done. My first book. I'll be driving down to Kentucky to
pick them up this afternoon. If you pre-ordered a copy, and plan on being at
Cornerstone, you can pick up your signed and numbered first edition there.
We'll be mailing out all the others right after we return from the festival.
(Make sure we have your latest address if it changed.) I really appreciate
the patience of those who ordered the book so long ago.

Many people asked us about the possibility of getting a copy of Unsung after
the first run sold out in advance, and thanks to the good folks at Larkspur
Press, we were able to secure a second edition of an additional 500. So there
should be plenty of books to go around for the foreseeable future. We'll see
how many people actually write in to pick up a copy, and if they move
quickly, we might consider a small third edition. But when the letters get
dumped out of the letterpress forms, there are no more books. (The text of
the book was set entirely by hand, one letter at a time, with a tweezers,
backwards. The woodcut illustrations were pressed directly on to the pages
from the actual woodblocks.)

It's a small book. A first step. They are beautiful. You could say that I'm

We'll get the ordering info up on the website soon.

After Cornerstone, we're going to disappear for awhile to do some recording.
In August, we'll be playing some concerts around Europe and visiting Jack and
Hazel in Scotland. They bought a house in a small village there. The rest of
the European dates will be posted soon. We'll performing in Holland, Italy,
England, Ireland, Wales and, hopefully, Belgium.

In September we hope to do a handful of concerts in the South--Texas,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee.

Here are a few recently added links at to check out:

European Tour dates:

Malone College interview with Linford:

Silver Platters (Seattle) review of Grey Ghost Stories by Lisa M. Smith:

Thanks to Megan Holmes and Ken Carl for concert photos:

That's all for now.

Enjoy these days,

Linford Detweiler for Over the Rhine...