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David Olney (from Evermore, Sessions I and II are available on Strictly Country Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
When David Olney breathed his final verses while stricken with a fatal heart attack during his much-anticipated performance at the 30A Songwriter Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida on January 18, 2020, he exited the world in perfect harmony. Midway through the third song of his set, he stopped singing, apologized, then closed his eyes and passed away peacefully, making his final act the thing he loved the most. It was a sad and sudden departure, one that shook the music world to its core by virtue of the fact that the end came without warning when least expected. In a very real sense however, it was an apt ending, one that found him surrounded by friends, fans and ardent admirers who had gathered in celebration of his songs.
In retrospect, these new two companion posthumous releases, dubbed Evermore/Nevermore and subtitled The Final Live in Holland Sessions I and II, serve as fitting postscripts for Olney’s career. Recorded at various intervals in May 2016 and May/October 2018 at different Dutch venues, it features David Olney in a solo setting, occasionally accompanied by Daniel Seymour on vocals. Naturally then, the material reflects Olney’s easy, unassuming approach while also adding a particular poignancy to both his own compositions and a disparate selection of songs by others, including a quiet, contemplative take on Buddy Holly’s classic “Everyday,” an appropriately gloomy version of the Bee Gees’ “New York Mining Disaster 1941” (which he fuses with his own standard, “Roses”) and adept covers of songs by fellow travelers John Prine (“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”) and Townes Van Zandt (“Rex’s Blues” and “For the Sake of the Song”).
It’s also telling, however, that Olney manages to inject a darker element into several of these selections. He’s positively riled up on “Little Mustang/Deeper Well” (‘thought I died and went to hell’) and offers some ominous overtones on “Situation/Don’t Try to Fight It” while also foretelling his own fate while declaring ‘the show must go on’ on the half-spoken “Big Top (Tornado)”. One can’t help but think he’s providing a preview of his own furtive future.
That, of course, was impossible, but then again, as David Olney was a decidedly demonstrative artist and entertainer, a man who could hold his audiences in thrall even in his quietest moments. (Check out the gentle “Evermore” for one of the more obvious examples.) In the inside sleeve of Session I, he’s quoted as saying, ‘A song is a dream — A dream is sometimes a prayer — You hope they are heard’.
Given the music that’s shared on these two albums, David Olney need not have worried. An apt requiem for a man who will long be missed, these two volumes of Evermore/Nevermore easily live up to their titles. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of David Olney Evermore from AMAZON
Listen and buy the music of David Olney Nevermore from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit the David Olney website
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