Friday, April 15

David Olney & Observations of the Southern Songwriter

This was the first music thing I've taken Tara to and well, it's not quite the same.

I loved having her there but one thing is that Tara doesn't hear well (I think it's hereditary) and so she couldn't understand a lot of what was going on...stage banter was really difficult for her and she's not somebody who listens to songs for the lyrics - which I am beginning to think is a guy thing more than a woman thing.

Anyway, David was standing by the door when we walked in and I introduced her to him. There was a guy on stage when we walked in and Tara was asking about him and I said I didn't know...she thought the guy on stage was David and that I had introduced her to just some guy I knew..."No, Tara. The guy we were just talking to was David." (She hadn't understood my introduction well enough.)

David was very nervous when we got there, he didn't have a place to decompress or prepare. He got on stage with a bassist and fiddle player (who was incredible). His nervousness continued through the first couple of songs but then he hit a stride, his banter was more fluid, his playing was more secure and his songs were more adventurous. We left before he was done and I will discuss the show more later.

David is a story teller. His songs are POV and usually a very odd POV. As folkie as he is he has this religious vibe running through and sometimes it even comes right out. He did this sequence that was straight out of a Revival textbook and he's got the perfect voice for it.

Which brings me to an observation...Southern songwriters and gospel...David is one of a few true songwriters who have been heavily influenced by gospel - the music, the style and the preaching. And I am talking about these vivid storytelling songwriters like Kate Campbell, Paul Thorn (who's Dad was a preacher), Steve Earle (who did the whole Fairfield Four thing). Those are the ones I know well who have this influence, I'm sure their are others.

It is true that those of us from the South have some unconscious connection to religion but I wonder if it's just these folks have the talent to channel those influences.

And don't even get me started on Soul Music.
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