When The Deal Goes Down

David Olney

Deadbeat Records, 2014


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


David Olney is a troubadour whose career now spans over four decades and close to 30 albums. His music and lyrics explore the yin and yang of life as it deals with the light and darkness of human existence.

His new album, When The Deal Goes Down, is basically a roots style with some excursions into the blues. His lyrics are always poetic and incisive as they tell stories pulled from his mind and imagination. He then encases these tales in melodic music.nbtc__dv_250

Olney’s strength is as a songwriter and he has wisely recorded his own tunes on his new album, co-writing or writing 11 of the 12 tracks here. He covers a lot of territory as there is humor, tragedy, and reflection.

The album is bookended by the two songs that come closest to a full rock style. “When The Deal Goes Down” and “Big Blue Hole” both contain musings from his fertile mind set to a full rock band sound.

“Scarecrow Man” and “No Trace” contain themes that that he has explored a number of times in the past. He is many times drawn to the dark side of life and themes of psychological fear and his philosophy of life travel to places many minds fear to go. Both are powerful statements but one would not want an entire album of this kind of material and he is wise enough to include lighter tunes like “Mister Stay At Home” and “Servant Job.”

Olney is probably at his best when he keeps it simple. “Little Bird (What I Do)” is an acoustic guitar, accordion, and upright bass piece that present the gentle side of his musical personality. “Sad Saturday Night” is interesting, creative, and even a little odd. It is just Olney on acoustic guitar and vocal, supported by Neil Konouchi on tuba. You’ve got to love it.

David Olney is a artist who has assembled an album of well-crafted and thoughtful music. When The Deal Goes Down is one of the better releases of his career, finding him moving in a number of directions lyrically. This is a worthy album from an artist who has dedicated his life to his craft.

Rating: B

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