Thursday, September 27, 2012


Legendary performer and songwriter David Olney returns to the scene with the third installment of his thematic mini-album series to present a pair of complicated love stories called Robbery & Murder (October 30, Deadbeet Records).  As with the first two – 2011’s Film Noir and Olney’s retelling of the Easter story, The Stone (April 2012) – the packaging on Robbery & Murder features original artwork selected by Olney and foreboding photography.  Each EP includes a mix of reinterpretations of some of Olney's classic catalog and several new tunes. The three recordings complete the box set, Body of Evidence, also available October 30.   

The series was born out of Olney's weekly "You Never Know" live streamcast – originally a three-song themed performance and chat – on and YouTube.  The program, posted every Tuesday, currently features David performing a song and sharing the story behind it as well as other things on his mind.

On Robbery & Murder, Olney takes a multi-faceted look at two love affairs.  While the twin threads of Robbery & Murder alternate and interweave around a common theme the songwriter calls “hardcore romantic negotiation,” their differences could not be more stark. The Betty & Dupree tunes are rollicking odes to marital bliss – at a price – while the Delia songs inhabit the dark regions of cowardice, betrayal and regret.

Olney doesn't defy categorization so much as he rises above it. There is simply no one else like him. Singer/Songwriter? By definition. And Picasso was a painter. But as one reviewer said, “Olney stands out like a jalapeño in a bowl of vanilla pudding.” Americana-Folk artist? Sure. He draws from the many deep roots of American music, but what he grows from those roots is unmistakably unique.

Olney's musical path brought him to Nashville in 1973, that city's equivalent to Paris in the 1890s. He fell in with a creative cabal (Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, John Hiatt, et al.) whose new attitudes and creative chance-taking broadened and deepened the scope of Music City songwriting.  In the early 1980s Olney formed a roots rock band, the X-Rays, resulting in a trail of legendary live shows, two well-received albums, and an appearance on Austin City Limits. Then in 1986 came his first solo album, the stunningEye of the Storm (Philo/Rounder), where the singer says he found his voice as a songwriter.

Over the course of four decades and 25 critically acclaimed albums, Olney's unforgettable songs and powerful performances have attracted a devoted following the world over. Such luminaries as Emmylou Harris, Del McCoury and Linda Ronstadt have recorded his songs, and Townes Van Zandt famously listed him among his four favorites -- along with Dylan, Mozart and Lightnin' Hopkins. In performance, Olney is a revelation. The shows are seamless and riveting, never more so than in the company of chameleonic multi-instrumentalist Sergio Webb. Since 2007, Webb has added his sonic sorcery to Olney's songs, enriching and embellishing them with a near-brotherly empathy.

And so the distinct and very different love stories of Robbery & Murder complete the project called Body of Evidence, and complete it with typical intelligence, fire and finesse. But the David Olney story goes on, the evidence accumulates and the case is a long way from closed.

For more information, please visit

No comments: