David Olney was born on March 23, 1948 and died on January 18, 2020. Moreover, he was an American folk singer-songwriter. Olney was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but did not graduate.
Olney joined Bland Simpson’s band Simpson in 1971. They recorded one album in New York, and then Olney relocated to Atlanta since 1972. Olney moved to Nashville in 1973, attempted to sell his songs to record labels’ Onley formed the band The X-Rays, who recorded two albums for Rounder Records, appeared on Austin City Limits, opened for Elvis Costello, and broke up in 1985.
Olney performed as a solo singer-songwriter, and released more than 20 albums over four decades, including 6 live recordings. He collaborated with artists such as John Hadley and Sergio Webb. His songs were covered by and co-written with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Young, Del McCoury, and Laurie Lewis, among others.
Likewise, Olney was a key member of Nashville’s music community since his move to Music City in 1973, the Lincoln, Rhode Island native was a compelling and enigmatic presence. He wrote sonnets and starred at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and his live concerts blended tenderness and ferocity, theatre and sincerity, agitation and embrace.
Personal life and death
Olney had a girlfriend in 1973, and she broke up with him while living in Atlanta. He resided in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Regine. They had a son, Redding, and a daughter, Lillian. Olney formed a mutual admiration with Townes Van Zandt when he began his solo career.
Further, Olney died of an apparent heart attack during a performance onstage at the 30A Songwriter Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, on January 18, 2020, at age 71. “David was playing a song when he paused, said ‘I’m sorry’ and put his chin to his chest. He never dropped his guitar or fell off his stool. It was as easy and gentle as he was,” Scott Miller said.
- Birth name: David Charles Olney
- Date of Birth: March 23, 1948
- Birth Place: Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
- Date of Death: January 18, 2020
- Aged: 71
- Death Place: Fort Walton Beach, Florida, U.S.
- Genres: Folk
- Instruments: Guitar
- Years active: since 1971–2020
- Labels: Philo, Rounder, Strictly Music, Deadbeet
- Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Genre: Folk music
- Albums: Don’t Try To Fight It, When the Deal Goes Down, etc.
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