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Focus On: David Olney

David Olney A native of Lincoln, RI, David Olney picked up a guitar for the first time at 14 and was led down the folk music slope by his older brother. He moved to Chapel Hill to attend the University of North Carolina, but discovered life as a musician instead, performing traditional folk songs by the Carter Family and others. Olney moved to New York to play guitar in a band founded by former UNC classmate, Bland Simpson, and then onto Nashville where he established himself as a talented songwriter and built a following for his band, Dave Olney & The X-Rays. His solo career has focused more on writing songs that are careful portraits of people and sometimes even objects that tell touching stories—he doesn’t find his own life that compelling. Olney’s 2003 release The Wheel was his first collection of thematically linked songs. His most recent CD from LoudHouse Records, Migration, continues the trend, bringing together tales of a migrating bird, a lovelorn magician, and an assortment of other memorable characters.

David Olney's most recent release, Migration is on Loud House Records.


Interview with David Olney

One of his generation’s most complex songwriters, David Olney talked to Jim Blum about the various subjects of his work during a recent visit to Folk Alley studios. Olney—whose work has been recorded by Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, among others—avoids topics based on his own life in favor of inspiration from history and the world around him. The singer/songwriter also performs a few of his creations, including songs from his new CD, Migration.

David Olney tells Jim Blum about, among other things, his musical journey from Rhodes Island to Nashville via North Carolina and New York, a friendship with musician/playwright Bland Simpson that solidified over candles, how his first songs were successful by not standing out, and more in a music-rich interview. Olney performs live versions of “Upside Down/Wait Here for the Cops” from his new CD, Migration, and “Jerusalem Tomorrow” from 1989’s Deeper Well while discussing songs including “1917” that illustrate his songwriting process.
    Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (30:09)

My Lovely Assistant

(originally from Migration - 2005)

    Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (3:36)

Jerusalem Tomorrow

(originally from Deeper Well - 1989)

    Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (4:54)

Upside Down / Wait Here For The Cops

(originally from Border Crossing - 2003 & Migration - 2005)

    Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (6:22)


  David Olney Official Site

  Purchase Migration from

Folk Alley's production and sound engineer, Joe Gunderman, tweaks things before Jim Blum's interview with David Olney.

David Olney singing "Jerusalem Tomorrow"

David Olney singing "Upside Down" from his latest release, "Migration"

David Olney talks about his song "My Lovely Assistant" with Jim Blum

Jim Blum interviewing David Olney

More conversation with songwriter David Olney. . . (L to R: Joe Gunderman, David Olney, and Jim Blum)

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