Present Ghost

Telling stories


Anne Ditlevson

“Air Condition” animates the ordinary

By now, everyone who reads my blog knows I’m related to the lead singer of The Sleaves. He’s my brother, so I can’t be an unbiased reviewer, but here’s what I can offer that no one else can: We’ve talked for years about art, be it visual, written, or musical. We’ve shared influences and affected each other’s work in collaboration and conversation. I know what makes Andrew Ditlevson tick. At least, I have a pretty good idea.

Andrew is interested in shadows, the interplay of light and dark. That’s a typical artist thing, but I find my brother’s work to hang out in this really tense, undecided space. It’s uncomfortable but not discomforting, because it’s so human.

The phases of human life have interested Andrew for awhile now. He’s been working on a series of EPs covering marriage, and most recently, childhood.

“Air Condition” is track off the Marriage EP. The Marriage EP explores the pain, joy, and ordinariness of a marital relationship. Some aspects of his work is autobiographical, but “Air Condition” is fiction. In it, he tells the story of a person mourning the death of his or her spouse.

Andrew will call the song “dark,” but I’d use a different word.

When I hear him sing this line:

“Now that you are really gone, I don’t change the sheets/It has been about a year since you were with me.”

I know what he’s talking about. It’s that almost palpable absence you can feel, whether or not your partner is dead.

That’s heavy.

Find more sleaves music on their SoundCloud page.


Celebrate with an Artist of the Beautiful

People write about love in its beginning and ending stages. There’s passion, lust, flirtation, heartache, and longing. Yet there is an incredible dearth of songs written for people who actually work through relationships long enough to truly celebrate.

Continue reading “Celebrate with an Artist of the Beautiful”

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

On the eve of Christmas Eve, we would like to share a bit of cheer by wishing everyone a holly jolly holiday.

Anne and Andrew Ditlevson reworked this song as a continuation of their annual tradition of recording  a Christmas song or two and sending a CD to family as their Christmas card. They broadened their audience this year by uploading to SoundCloud and allowing anyone to enjoy their sonic cheer.

Do not be mistaken: this is not Burl Ives’ version, although that had something to do with it. Andrew said he was thinking more about Great White (Think “Once Bitten Twice Shy”) and Anne was going more for Social Distortion with this one. Their influences come together well. Oddly enough, you can hear them come through and yet still feel the Christmas in it.

By now, you’ve probably heard the same songs at least one or two times through this season, and you could use a new take. For free downloads of this and other Christmas songs by them, visit

Revisiting The Vercos


“You Loved Me First”

The Vercos began with Andrew and Anne—before they were both Ditlevsons. They met in the back of public school bus number 4 in the late 1990s in Ashland, Ohio, several years before they began to date. Years later, both of them played guitar, and admired each other’s art. Anne once called Andrew “her ideal” boyfriend, and while they were attending the same college, they started dating and collaborating in 2003.

After they performed several shows as a duo, they eventually added Jon Hunn on drums. Eventual lineups included Mike Previtera, Jeffrey Steiner, and Dominic Vercillo, but the band was always jokingly compared to Oasis. There’s Noel and there’s Liam. (It must be said, though, that neither founding party will claim being either Gallagher brother.)

What started out as an acoustic duo turned into a rock band that played together until 2008. They were always tweaking their sound. At any show, an old favorite might have new instruments or verse. This was never one of those bands you went to see because they were your friends. You went because they were just as talented as the people you listened to already.

For now, The Vercos have disbanded, but a reunion, reincarnation, or resurrection has never been ruled out.

Check out different tracks of theirs here:

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