David Olney

When the Deal Goes Down

BY Kerry DoolePublished Jul 25, 2014

At 66, David Olney is one of those grizzled veteran roots singer/songwriters better known for covers of their songs than their own recordings (Billy Joe Shaver is a prime example). Emmylou Harris covered his "Deeper Well" on her landmark album Wrecking Ball, and few have a better ear for a great song than Emmy. Others tackling Olney songs have included Steve Earle and Johnny Cash.

Olney doesn't have great vocal range, but there's a lived-in authenticity to his voice that is beyond so many of the young pretenders around these days. Beneath the gruff exterior lies a big heart capable of tenderness, as on "Little Bird (What I Do)" and "Soldier Of Misfortune." The most rockin' song here, "Roll This Stone," suggests John Hiatt (never a bad thing). A four-piece horn section adds beef to the bluesy "Servant, Job," and tuba and voice carry "Sad Saturday Night," while his backing band (especially guitarists Sergio Webb and Mark Robinson) do a fine job of framing his songs. The striking photo on the back of the CD cover shows Olney staring at a skull, perhaps contemplating his mortality. Let's hope he sticks around awhile, as he is the real deal.

Latest Coverage