The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee has tapped David Olney to help grow awareness for the “If Trees Could Sing” program with a video PSA profiling the White Oak tree that features a live performance of David’s classic “ROSES” song from the Phil/Rounder album of the same name. Even the squirrels seem to be dancing with glee in this video!

If you’re visiting the Nashville area this summer, be sure to stop by the Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary Park to find the “David Olney”White Oak Tree marked with a “If Trees Could Sing” plaque complete with the artist’s photo. Park visitors can get a little tree lesson from the celebrities through these short videos, which can be accessed through a QR code on your smartphone while next to the tree, or online HERE.

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David has certainly been co-writing and collaborating with a lot of wonderful artists all over the world in recent months. A few weeks back, we shared news of songs he’s co-written and/or been featured on with Tom Russell and Anne McCue on their new offerings. Now, there are two other co-conspirators with new music worth your listening time!


Longtime friend and string-slinger Sergio Webb has released a new collection called “Domingo” featuring two David Olney co-writes; and, Irish singer-songwriter Ben Reel’s new album “7th” – features our hero in addition to Sergio Webb and other notable names. The Meath Chronicle in Ireland profiled Ben’s new CD with a fun write-up, which you can read by clicking HERE.


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David has been sharing self-penned Sonnets from his hand-assembled “A Month Of Sonnets” LIMITED EDITION of 100 books on his weekly “You Never Know” online Songwriter Series over the past few months. The Sonnets are featured in David’s own handwriting and each book is numbered, autographed, and can be personalized. Currently we’re only offering these for sale via email at this time. Each book is $20 + shipping/handling. Please send your request for one of these one-of-a-kind thoughtful collections of poetry to


“Howard loves it when I read to him. And currently he’s very excited about David Olney  ‘A Month of Sonnets.’ [My wife] says you cannot spoil a dog and I agree!” ~ Van DeLisle and Howard (Chicago, IL)


“I am very delighted and I’ll read it with great pleasure. Thank you very much for the personal message.” 
~  Trudy W. (The Netherlands)


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This week, David is re-joined by Sergio Webb for a run of shows in FORT WORTH, Texas; HOUSTON, Texas; and LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana. Another show was recently announced in NEW ORLEANS for this Saturday night, which includes local favorites Renshaw Davies to open the evening in support of their new CD release. This is the first time DO with Sergio have played most of these venues. Click on the poster image for ticket links and other details.

Look for David performing in East Tennessee in early JULY and Western CANADA in October. All confirmed tour dates and venue links can be found on the SHOWS page


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Roots On The Rails

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John Doe, Rick Shea, Dave Alvin & David Olney in the Overland Trail Private Railcar somewhere near Donner’s Pass on the West Of The West Train Tour – April 24-27, 2015. Photos by Conductor Bill Hatrick

rootsonrails3Sarah Borges, Dave Alvin, Christy McWilson & David Olney
perform at The Soiled Dove in Denver, CO – April 23, 2015

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Fresh off the Dave Alvin West Of The West Train Tour (photos below)  from Denver to Los Angeles with fellow travelers Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, John Doe, Rick Shea, Christy McWilson, Sarah Borges, Robbie Fulks and others, the rubbing of the elbows in May…

David Olney,Malcolm Holcombe and Dayna Kurtz took in the hospitality at the vintage Balsam Mountain Inn near Waynesville, NC this past weekend. Click HERE to see a mini-montage video of the show.

220eaa5c-26bc-4675-b92a-b98b4524a1f3THIS TUESDAY, May 12: David Olney returns to The Bluebird Café in Nashville, TN at 9pm to play with new and old friends, including “the” Will Kimbrough, Canada’s Brock Zeman and Oklahoma’s Samantha Crain.

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The past few months have had David Olney in the studio with lots of friends, in support of their new recordings as well as enjoying some killer co-writing sessions.

Australian transplant-Nashville resident, lovely singer-songwriter and guitarist Anne McCue recently released her new “Blue Sky Thikin’” album. Anne and David and frequent Olney collaborator John Hadley co-wrote two songs on her new record. The whole album is seamless and a sweet listen. Lend an ear to Anne McCue’s new music HERE


On author-painter-songwriter and David Letterman frequent performer Tom Russell’s new long-awaited and highly-lauded Folk-Opera “The Rose of Roseacre” double-CD, David Olney lays it out as “The Judge” on a couple of the 52 tracks. This ambitious project is a fascinating journey and features Gretchen Peters, Maura O’Connell, Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, John Trudell, Lead Belly and many other fine artists. Find it HERE and give a listen.


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Nashville Scene: David Olney is still a contender. Can you say the same?The late Townes Van Zandt was the best songwriter in the whole wide world, Steve Earle said in an oft-cited quote, “and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” Seventeen years after Van Zandt’s death, the Americana artists who followed in his wake still speak of him the way rockers invoke John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix — as a standard bearer who represents a pinnacle of credibility and craft.

Had he been the coffee-table orating type, however, whose name would Van Zandt have declared?

“Anytime anyone asks me who my favorite music writers are, I say Mozart, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bob Dylan, and Dave Olney,” Van Zandt wrote. “Dave Olney is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard — and that’s true. I mean that from my heart.”

Published August 21, 2014

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Americana music infuses The Nashville Shakespeare Festival‘s 27th Annual Shakespeare in the Park production. Directed by Denice Hicks, As You Like It features songwriting legend David Olney in the role of Amiens, playing his own original songs written for the show. Music director Stan Lawrence leads an authentic old time jam band with players from the Musical Heritage Center in Pegram Tennessee. Inspired by the optimistic comedies of the 1930s, and set during the Great Depression, costumed ushers will invite the audience to join the actors in our version of a “Hooverville”, where even in the toughest times, songs are sung, stories are told and there’s always time for a little buck dancing.

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By William Shakespeare Directed by Denice Hicks Original Music by David Olney & Stan Lawrence Cast List August 14 – September 14, 2014 Thursdays through Sundays and Labor Day Monday at Centennial Park Bandshell $10 Suggested Donation Food & drink vendors open at 6:00pm Preshow entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

Americana music infuses The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s 27th Annual Shakespeare in the Park production. Directed by Denice Hicks, As You Like It features songwriting legend David Olney in the role of Amiens, playing his own original songs written for the show. Music director Stan Lawrence leads an authentic old time jam band with players from the Musical Heritage Center in Pegram Tennessee. Inspired by the optimistic comedies of the 1930s, and set during the Great Depression, costumed ushers will invite the audience to join the actors in our version of a “Hooverville”, where even in the toughest times, songs are sung, stories are told and there’s always time for a little buck dancing.

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Music City Roots 8/6/14 at 7pm CT Featuring:

Hosted by Jim Lauderdale
Purchase Tickets

Watch the webcast
Live at 7 pm CT on:
Watch Music City Roots Live From The Factory on LivestreamPosted  FLAMES, OLD AND NEW 
 & filed under Blog.

Music City Roots Live From The Factory!Most of the band leaders who play Roots and who ply the highways and byways of the Americana scene are singer/songwriters who may or may not have extra flair as an instrumentalist. But Michael Cleveland is so powerful and so seductive on his fiddle that he’s got enough firepower to lead Flamekeeper as a picker first. The extremely talented Josh Richards does most of the lead singing in the band and on its new album On Down The Line. But it’s Cleveland’s beacon-like passion for hard-edged, traditional bluegrass music that makes Flamekeeper a must-see act.

One week after a night dedicated to the legacy of Nashville soul, R&B and gospel, we return to our regularly scheduled eclectic Americana, including Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper debuting the new CD just a day before a big release show at the world famous Station Inn. We’ll also welcome back two of our favorite songwriters – Susan Werner and David Olney – as they prepare for big leaps into the world of theater. And Michaela Anne, a newcomer to our stage but not esteemed stages of roots music, will show us the country sound she developed in Brooklyn before her very recent move to Music City.

The first time I saw Michael Cleveland (back around 2000 with Rhonda Vincent) was one of those revelatory moments you get in bluegrass. He was too young to be so good. He was uncannily original in a musical niche with plenty of models and relatively narrow parameters. And then there was the fact that he was blind and had obviously not had a predictable or easy path up the bluegrass mountain. Yet here he is in 2014 with nine Fiddle Player of the Year awards from the IBMA. But then he was spotted early on as prodigy destined for something great. He was part of an early version of the Bluegrass Youth All Stars and he was invited to play on the Opry with Alison Krauss. He was called on by legends like J.D. Crowe to join him on stages and records. He became a band leader in 2006, and ever since he’s thrived.

The new album, Flamekeeper’s first for Compass Records, kicks off with the kind of high, fast hair-curler you’d think came from the pen of one of the legends. But that double take you did is because “Too Late For Goodbyes” is a Julian Lennon hit from 1984, bluegrassified at the suggestion of Josh Richards. But if Cleveland dips his toe into McCoury-esque rock covers with that one, he closes with his version of the warhorse “Orange Blossom Special,” because dang it, he can. It’s the most explosive and popular fiddle feature of all time, so a fiddler as great as Michael simply had to get a version on the record.

When last we saw the warm and wondrous Susan Werner, she was singing songs of farm life from her album Hayseed. Her performance on that occasion of “Plant The Stars” was one of my most emotional moments at Roots, and the track still gets me verklempt when I call it up today. Besides being heart-tugging, Werner is witty, endearing and inventive. Her voice is burnished brass. She’s one of the most outstanding stage talkers we know as well. So it’s going to be a treat to welcome her back. Especially since I have so many questions about her newest venture, writing the music to a major new musical version of the great movie Bull Durham. This is hometown terrain for me, folks. The story of Crash Davis, Annie Savoy and Nuke LaLoosh was set in my city, at the ballpark where I saw Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko play as minor leaguers on their way to my beloved Atlanta Braves. I loved the movie and I have to think Susan’s wry lyrics should be a perfect match for this tale of lust and baseball. Whether she’ll be singing any of the show’s material is an open question, but I sure hope so.

Also bound for the theatrical stage is our pal David Olney. Nashville’s amazing founder of the X-Rays and a writer of songs for Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (among others) has written new music for the Nashville Shakespeare Company’s new production of As You Like It. And when it premieres in Centennial Park on August 14, Olney will play the role of Amiens. We’ve seen how perceptive and intense Olney can be delivering classic verse in his video concept project reciting the Rime of the Ancient Mariner on YouTube. And we well know the drama baked into his exceptional songs. His newest album (it’s been hard to keep up with his whirlwind pace lately) is When The Deal Goes Down, just out last month. Dave’s press calls it “a wild ride of emotions from love and hope to fear and despair, all the while being entertaining as-hell.” It’s true; Olney is ageless and courageous. LA Times music guru Robert Hilburn wrote that Olney “may be the best songwriter to have released nearly a dozen albums without making the Top 200.” But hey these days are topsy-turvy so maybe Deal will be his first. You, Roots Nation can make it happen.

And rounding out the bill, Michaela Anne should be a treat. Her backgrounder says she was a frustrated jazz student in NYC who got bit by the folk and country bug. She collaborated with the city’s guitar guru Michael Daves (partner of Chris Thile). He says on her website, “I love her knack for blending pop sensibilities with deep, Old Americana. I know we’ll be hearing a lot more from her down the line.” And after developing quite a spot in the competitive Brooklyn club scene, she hit some top flight festivals, most recently what appears to have been a lovely weekend at the iconic FloydFest.

So fire up your vehicle or your radio. Because Wednesday night at the Factory its Flame On.

Craig H.

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Bulger’s Beat Courtesy of WSMV TV Channel 4

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