Americana Legend David Olney
Friday, December 1 at 7:00PM
Master craftsman, acclaimed singer/songwriter and globe-trotting performer David Olney has released more 30 solo albums over four decades, including six live recordings. His music has been prominently featured in ABC-TV’s Nashville
and his stellar songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, and Steve Earle, among many others. While you can (and should!) catch up with David on his weekly live, You Never Know streamcast—starring “Nashville’s Answer to the Bard” performing a song and sharing the story behind it—every Tuesday on DavidOlney.com and YouTube., you can catch him #LiveAtTheLyric, as he will be heading to “The Roots Palace of the Ozarks,” Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 7:00, accompanied by fiddler Ward Stout.
“Olney is a talented musical enigma, and he is unquestionably a founding father of Americana music.”
Though a folksinger at heart, Olney incorporates wide-ranging inspirations from honky tonk to rock into his standard repertoire. Born in Rhode Island, David moved to Nashville during the early ’70s and became a major player in the city’s underground folk/country scene, recording a half-dozen albums before the end of the decade. His output during the ’80s slowed considerably, but in the ’90s he recorded with an impressive cast of roots-rock all-stars—Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, and Brian Ahern, among others. Beside his own albums, his discography on AllMusic.com features 288 credits…so far!
“Though he’s best known as a masterful wordsmith, Olney has a knack for creating the ideal atmosphere for his gothic noir tune.”
– Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Olney remained prolific throughout the coming decade, delivering several studio albums and, with his increasing popularity as a touring artist in Europe, three different live albums, all recorded at various locations in Holland. As previously mentioned, he began hosting a weekly interactive streamcast video series (originally called Hear & Now, but now titled, You Never Know) on which he performs a handful of songs and shares the stories behind them, as well as offering his observations on other things and recitations of classic poetry. Between his weekly videos and busy touring schedule, Olney found the time to release a studio album, When the Deal Goes Down, in 2014 and released another this year, Don’t Try to Fight It, so you can expect to hear music from a wide repertoire, including whatever fresh project he might be working on during this tour!
The late Townes Van Zandt was the best songwriter in the whole wide world, Steve Earle said in an oft-cited quote, “and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” Seventeen years after Van Zandt’s death, the Americana artists who followed in his wake still speak of him the way rockers invoke John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix — as a standard bearer who represents a pinnacle of credibility and craft.
Had he been the coffee-table orating type, however, whose name would Van Zandt have declared?
“Anytime anyone asks me who my favorite music writers are, I say Mozart, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bob Dylan, and Dave Olney,” Van Zandt wrote. “Dave Olney is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard — and that’s true. I mean that from my heart.”
– Skip Anderson, writing for The Nashville Scene in his article
David Olney is still a contender. Can you say the same?
We’ll excerpt some of the rest of Mr. Anderson’s article here because, as producer and music writer Tommy Goldsmith is quoted in it, “He’s not a household name, but, my God, look at what he’s done over the years. It’s a really impressive body of work.” Thus, Anderson writes, “Olney is a talented musical enigma, and he is unquestionably a founding father of Americana music. And yet, perhaps reflective of his career as an invisible giant, Wikipedia doesn’t even list him among the 135 artists it associates with the genre.”
If David Olney were less of a leader and more of a follower, he might have had an easier path commercially. But as with Van Zandt, the varied and hard-to-summarize gifts that make Olney a marketer’s challenge make him a hero to other songwriters and musicians.
“When I met him, he was a rocker, but he was also this sensitive songwriter,” says Billy Block, longtime host of the radio show, webcast and TV series The Billy Block Show and a session drummer. “He’s got more soul than everybody I can imagine. He embodies what Americana is.”
Unquestionably a founding father of Americana music, David Olney will perform with fiddler Ward Stout at downtown Harrison’s historic Lyric Theater, “The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks,” on Friday, December 1, at 7:00. Tickets available now at our ticketing page or by calling (870) 319-3504.