Search - David Olney :: Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly
David Olney
Through a Glass Darkly
Genres: Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

American folk music has always been a storyteller's medium. From its roots in Scottish, Irish, and African traditions, it has been a way for plain "folks" to sing out their stories, histories, and myths. David Olney does h...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: David Olney
Title: Through a Glass Darkly
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Philo Records
Release Date: 1/26/1999
Genres: Folk, Pop
Styles: Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 018964122423, 011671122427

American folk music has always been a storyteller's medium. From its roots in Scottish, Irish, and African traditions, it has been a way for plain "folks" to sing out their stories, histories, and myths. David Olney does his storytelling with such far-reaching technique that he's almost more a literary figure than a folksinger. With songs that give shine and sensuality to day-to-day lives, Olney creates a suite of stories that throws light on the complications of his characters. He sings of a French prostitute who can offer temporary respite to a weary soldier, an honest thief, and the "Suicide Kid" who tries every possible way to kill himself but who is rebuffed by Death. His arrangements mix traditional and more offbeat instrumentation, including harps and oboes. Olney's singing isn't what you'd call polished or resonant, but his flat, Western drawl gives these songs the stamp of honest authorship. --Lois Maffeo

CD Reviews

Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 05/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I haven't listened to David Olney for very long -- I only discovered his music when this album was released, but I went back and obtained everything I could after hearing it. I was so impressed by this release that I knew I had opened a treasure chest of fine songwriting. This man is a storytelling master.After listening to several of his other releases, and finding a lot of work there to admire (especially the album 'Deeper well'), I found myself returning to this cd again and again. None of the others seem to hold together as a whole like this one does. Not a concept album in the strictest sense, the songs are still linked together by the fact that they all concern events that happened in the first 30 years or so of this century.'1917' begins the album, telling the story of the horrors of WWI, from the point of view of a Paris prostitute entertaining a young soldier, whom she sees as doomed -- all related with incredible understatement and sensitivity. 'Dillinger' takes the much-told myth of John Dillinger as 'Robin Hood' and explodes it before out eyes (or ears), exposing him for the callous, hardened animal that he was. 'Avery County' contains chilling echoes from the classic 50s Robert Mitchum film 'Night of the hunter' -- 'JT's escape' follows right behind, with some much-needed (at this point) humor. 'Little bit of poison' is a great look at the nature of love, life and relationships -- taking the bitter with the sweet. (Denice Franke does a nice cover of this on her new cd, 'Comfort')David Olney was a friend and admirer of the late Townes Van Zandt -- and he pays tribute to him here in two ways: 'The suicide kid', an Olney original, looks at the self-destructive tendencies that have taken Townes and too many other great artists from us; and David follows it with a wonderful version of one of Townes' best-loved songs, 'Snowin' on Raton'.The cd ends with two incredible songs. 'Barabbas' looks at the story of the Crucifixion through the eyes of the thief who was spared by the wishes of the crowd -- and speaks eloquently of the burden he must have borne. (For another well-written take on the life of Christ, check out 'Jerusalem tomorrow' on David's 'Deeper well' cd.) 'Dogwoods', the closer, is simply one of the most beautifully-written songs I've ever heard.The musicianship is stellar throughout -- but the listener never gets the idea that the players were having anything but a good time. This is just about as perfect a collection of songs as I can imagine -- right down to the programming order. As a result of hearing this cd, I'll give anything David Olney puts out a listen -- but it's going to be hard to top this one!"
Another great album by David Olney
Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek | Rotterdam, Netherlands | 06/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is more like a project, containing songs about the USA in the first half of this century. More country influences than usual on David Olney's albums. The first 2 songs are my favorites, 1917 about the 'relationship' between a prostitute and her 'customer'. And the second about John Dillinger, who in this song is not much of a hero, but a heartless criminal. Both are examples of the superb story-telling talent of David Olney. And by the way, this album also contains a cover of one of the greatest Townes van Zandt-songs, Snowin' on raton."