A few words from Matthew Griffin . . .

The Hills of Ohio was written on the bus on the way to Cleveland one morning. We had to leave from the school of theater at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night to get to a morning performance in Cleveland. Anne Smith, Marsha Pierson and I were the unlucky slobs who didn't manage to find enough space to stretch out and snooze. If we'd had a bigger bus, that song might not have gotten written. Anyway -- there we were -- upright and awake and with several hours to kill. Anne says, "I've had this tune going around in my head and Bob wants more Ohio songs in the show. Let's see if we can do something with this." So she plays the tune through on her guitar and dee-dee-dees instead of words. I think the first line we came up with was "At night I dream of Athens County" which we ended up changing to "I often dream of Athens County". By the time we got off the bus, the song was finished. We were staying in the Area that afternoon in cabins at a state lodge -- this might have been Geauga County for the Maple Festival -- I'm not sure. But anyway -- that afternoon Bob & Connie had driven up to meet us and have some touch up rehearsal in the living room of one of our cabins. We played them the song, added some back up vocals; Alex took a fiddle break which eventually became a dynamite mandolin duet with Alex and John. We put the song in the show that night. I remember when we played that song at the Athens County Fairgrounds on July 4th, the crowd stood and applauded and stomped their feet until Bob made us sing it all the way through a second time. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. Years later when I was in graduate school a fellow contacted me and wanted to record the song. He sent me a recording he had made at a live performance in the park in my hometown of Gallipolis. I never got Anne's permission to let him record it but he submitted the tape to the Ohio Country Music Association. Imagine my surprise when I got a letter from OCMA telling me that "The Hills of Ohio" had been selected as the best new song of 1985. They were supposed to send me a plaque but it never showed up. I'd like to thank Matthew for sharing the story behind this song with us. If you click on our music link, you will hear part of this song at the beginning of the Green Parks Montage. If you would like to hear it all, you can now purchase a copy of the CD. Our "shopping" page has a link that takes you directly to the order page of OVST. Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see some photos and press from the 1976 tour group. There's more to come - Charlie

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