When we first started having house concerts we had no idea what we were doing. Partly because it was never planned, partly because the house concert scene, at least in terms of Americana or folk or country or rock and roll, or whatever it is we like, was somewhat evolving. We just looked at our stacks of records and thought, “hmmm, who would we want to come and play?” Sure enough, people like Peter Case and Jason Ringenberg started popping up in our living room. It was crazy. We couldn’t stop giggling at our audacity, to think these folks would come to our little ramshackle house, and yet they DID.
I had fallen in love with David Olney the old fashioned way—from a promo (I miss promos). High, Wide and Lonesome, to me, is one of David’s finest. It’s just stupidly good. Is that partly because it was my first love? I don’t know but damn it’s a powerful album and it’s one that you can also listen to over and over sonically if that makes any sense. We’d been following him ever since, hoping to see him live even though the stars never seemed to align. When One Tough Town came out…man, we got even more obsessed. In fact, I still have a quote from it on my Facebook About page. I’m rather proud of that (can you feel Ernie rolling his eyes?).
So we started wondering, would David Olney actually do a show at our house? Hmmm. Finally, one day, Ernie picked up the latest cd and looked at the contact info. Soon enough, we had booked Olney. We were giddy. Come the next February, he and Sergio showed up at our house (he always seemed to play our house in the middle of summer or the middle of winter…the BEST times to visit central Illinois).
Of course that was just the beginning of so much music. However, those shows led to David and Bob Rasmus becoming friends and Bob inviting David to perform the songs of the Stone during his Palm Sunday service at St. Matthew’s in Urbana. The performances were mind blowing. And moving. And so many more words that I just don’t have.
Here are some videos performances of those songs:
I still get goosebumps when I listen all the way through this song. The first time he performed this at our house I thought Bob Rasmus was going to levitate.
Something happened. Back there all those centuries ago. Something not easily believed or easily dismissed. Two thousand years of glory and horror, of love and hate, of beauty and violence have only made those long ago events more murky and more enigmatic. But nothing comes of nothing. Something happened. The Stone is an attempt to address those events. From varying points of view (a con man, a donkey, a murderer and a soldier), a story is told. A picture struggles to emerge. Nothing is proved. Nothing is denied. –David Olney
Produced by Jack Irwin
- Jerusalem Tomorrow
- Flesh and Blood
- A Soldier’s Report
The clip below starts with David talking about finding characters. And find them he did, although to list them for the sake of surprise demeans their power. But damn.
This version of Brains is one of my favorite recordings of a live performance of David with the band. Just look at my beautiful Sergio.
As always, love you forever, David.
Onward to Easter.
Top photo: screenshot from Jerusalem Tomorrow video by Jack Irwin