David Olney died a year ago today. I guess it was a year ago tomorrow that Ernie woke me up, standing at the foot of the bed, his voice breaking as he told me the news. I’ll never forget that moment. I stayed in bed a long time this morning thinking about that.
The anniversary of this date has been weighing on me.
I’ve talked to the lights about it. That’s what I do, when I can’t sleep, I lie on my stomach and look out at the lights on the fence and I talk to them. Those lights have heard a lot but last night and this morning they couldn’t seem to help me figure out what I wanted to say about David.
Yesterday Leo and I were looking at my Flickr account, which I’d let lapse so my photos were being held hostage. I ponied up the money and as we scrolled through them (he was somewhere between disgusted and proud of the fact that I have almost 20,000 photos. Mind you, most of them are bad but there they are). We came across a lot from early house concerts, including David and Sergio. I paused and looked at them and then I rambled for quite a while to Leo about how unique David was. Leo is a brilliant listener.
Yes, people can, and should, cover his songs, but they’ll never be able to do what David did. Like he was looking into you and you looking into him when he sang. And the magic balance of the gruff bravado, the arched eyebrow wit and utter vulnerability.
No wonder he was so loved.
I’m thinking of his families today, Gine and his kids, as well as those that played and wrote with him, and of course my beloved Mary Sack. I send my love to everyone of you today. My heart is with yours.
Top photo by Anne Mrozek, bottom photo by Richard Hill