Beloved singer-songwriter David Olney has died after falling silent and dropping his head in the middle of a performance on Saturday night (January 18). He was 71.
Olney was participating in his second “in the round” performance at the 30A Songwriter’s Festival when he passed away. Fellow songwriter Amy Rigby was seated next to Olney and described his last moments in a post on Facebook, saying, “Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes. He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket we laughed about because it was raining like hell outside the boathouse where we were playing- I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment. Scott Miller had the presence of mind to say we needed to revive him. Doctors in the audience and 30A folks were all working so hard to get him to come to. It’s hard to post about this because I can’t really believe he’s gone.”
David Olney, a beautiful man, a legend, a songwriting poet died last night. I was sitting next to him in the round, had…
Olney had recorded 20 albums of his own and had his songs covered by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury and Steve Earle. He was a beloved and respected artists in the folk and Americana genres.
Emmylou Harris brought Olney into the spotlight as a songwriter with her covers of “Jerusalem Tomorrow” in 1993 and “Deeper Well” in 1995.
Olney is survived by his wife, Regine, daughter, Lillian, and son, Redding. Our thoughts and prayers are with David Olney’s family and friends.
A half-hour performance Olney gave earlier in the day on his own was captured on video and posted to YouTube. See the beautiful performance in the video below.