David Olney

Migration – 2005 (Loud House)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by David Olney

At this point in his consistently acclaimed career, David Olney would have to attempt an album of AC/DC covers to generate a truly terrible review. Olney has been following his singular folk muse for the better part of 20 years, offering songs that are so much more than mere perspectives on life.

Olney's gift is in his detailed writing; he crafts songs that tell stories, take journeys and reveal truths as he himself inhabits the characters and situations that he creates to convey his amazing tales. To this end, Olney's latest differs little from his previous work as he artfully presents scenes from a heartbroken magician ("My Lovely Assistant") to a death row prisoner ("Oh Lord"). His tremulously dusty voice weaves compelling tales of loves lost and lives lived over a soundtrack that drifts between Dylanesque folk tranquility ("Lenora," "No One Knows What Love Is") and Waitsian rock fury ("Upside Down," "Speak Memory"). His acoustic guitar soothes, his electric guitar energizes, and his words paint pictures and evoke emotions within and beyond our personal experience. That has always been David Olney's particular genius, and "Migration" extends a brilliant reputation sealed long ago. (Loudhouse, 712 Sparks Ave., Austin, TX 78705)