I remember the 1st time I heard about David Olney. It was a blurb on a music website in January of 2020, saying that he had passed away while playing a concert. He looked out at the audience, said “I’m sorry” and closed his eyes. It seemed like a fitting way for an artist to leave this mortal coil – yet I didn’t explore his music further at that time. Since then, we’ve had a pandemic, I’ve relocated across the US, and the world seems more divided than it did just 18 months ago. Perusing through YouTube one night, a song by David Olney & Anana Kaye was suggested to me and I played it. Again, and again. It spoke to me in a way that few songs do. My Favorite Goodbye was just the tip of the iceberg though – the entire album is incredible.
Whispers and Sighs is a collaboration with Anana Kaye. Anana Kaye is a Nashville based Indie Alt-Americana Duo hailing from Georgia (The country). Anana Kaye and Irakli Gabriel compliment David Olney’s country-ish rock songs. Vocals are split between David Olney and Anana Kaye, sometimes shared on tracks. It is a cohesive, varied album that stands as a posthumous masterpiece for Mr. Olney and a masterful record with promise of more from Anana Kaye.
My Favorite Goodbye is timeless and beautiful, lyrical poetry in motion. “Time takes everything but love” is particularly poignant phrase that makes repeated appearances. I’ve probably played this track a hundred times over the last month or so. Olney’s vocals are vulnerable yet strong – the voice of a man who had seen it all. The video is a compelling portrait of an artist’s last statement (embedded below). This song is so good, it feels like it has always existed. Stunning. Thank You Note has Anana Kaye taking the lead vocals backed by a shuffling beat, it is a bit of Euro style on an Americana album. Sighing violins, emotive vocals – this is a mid-album highlight. Behind Your Smile is the perfect blend of the musicians on this record, a sighing country lament backed by tasteful and minimal orchestration. The World We Used to Know builds as the song goes, a shout into the wind, wondering what has become of the world (and that’s before 2020 / 2021). “Who is the enemy, I don’t know anymore” is repeated several times to great impact as the song closes. The Great Manzini (Disappearing Act) closes the album in brilliant fashion. Haunting opening vocals by Anana Kaye, segueing into David Olney’s laments. Keep in mind this was recorded in 2019 and then think about these lines, delivered with a sigh “The last train has left the station / And the ship has sailed to sea / This city’s under quarantine / And I can never leave”. Eerie. A stunning way to close the last song from the last David Olney album.
This might be my favorite album of 2021 so far; it is just a shame I discovered David Olney’s talents after he had passed away. Available everywhere now, with a vinyl release forthcoming.
Verdict: Epic Goodbye to David Olney
For Fans of: Neil Young, James Taylor, The Beatles, Johnny Cash
- The Station
- My Favorite Goodbye
- The Last Dream of You
- Lie to Me, Angel
- Thank You Note
- Behind Your Smile
- Why Can’t We Get This Right
- Whispers And Sighs
- The World We Used to Know
- Tennessee Moon
- The Great Manzini (Disappearing Act)