Olney Thoughts, Olney Dreams

Can somebody please set up a database of sorts that tell you when you’ve preordered an album, or when you thought about it but didn’t actually do it? Because obviously I can’t keep track of that information myself. I never remember when I’ve preordered. Then it’s all a mystery. Well, the Jason Ringenberg album hasn’t shown up so I guess I just thought I preordered it. The Aaron Lee Tasjan album hasn’t shown up but I’m thinking maybe I ordered vinyl and it was delayed. I think I’ve preordered the Olney/Anana Kaye album. I sure as hell hope so.

Driving back from our Indiana wander on Sunday we listened to Gina Bacon’s interview with Anana Kaye and Irakli Gabriel about the album that will finally come out soon. I found that I was just quietly smiling the whole time I listened. It sounded so perfect as we drove on little roads beneath the heavy grey skies.

I can’t get this song out of my head…and to see him singing, but not performing as he normally would, is mesmerizing.
The second single, and it’s utterly gorgeous.

I think of David often. He pops in and out of my dreams. I had a dream that he was on tour and I would be there at every show and after every performance he would come and hold hands with me. That’s what I was there for, just to hold his hand. We didn’t talk.

Sometimes I wonder why his loss affected me so much. He wasn’t part of my daily life, I wasn’t in love with him, I didn’t have a crush on him (well, maybe a teensy bit). Although, I must say I don’t think Olney gets enough credit for being sexy as hell. I love watching this video of him, only a month or so before he died. I look at it and just shake my head. I remember the time, after an amazing show at our house that I laughingly asked him if he just kept getting better and he laughed right back that he wasn’t. But you know, we all knew it. He really was. He just kept getting better. He kept exploring. He kept being curious.

I’m so glad we have this album to look forward to.

Well, I’ve checked my email and evidently I DID pre-order this so I will be excitedly waiting for it to show up. No doubt when I get it I will feel like he’s holding my hand.

I suggest you go order it as well.

From the Schoolkids and Conqueroo websites:

“Whispers and Sighs is a masterpiece, a parting gift from an imagination of genius. This collaboration between David Olney and the brilliant Irakli Gabriel and Anana Kaye grabs you from the first listen and doesn’t let go. Perfect music for a long night drive, for sitting in the dark with a single candle, for dreamers old and young, a soundtrack for our nightmares and dreams. It is David Olney’s swan song recording, though he had no way of knowing it. Or did he? Here’s the thing, David wrote every song like it was his last, he put everything he had into all he did, 100% committed to the work. Losing David Olney in January 2020 kicked off one of the hardest years any of us can remember. He left us with this music, these stories, this beauty he brought forth from his magnificent imagination. I’m in awe, and forever grateful.”—Mary Gauthier

“A beautiful record. Only wisdom and deep experience can make music like this.” 
—Mike Scott, The Waterboys

“A deep gathering of souls in music and song…delivered.” —Malcolm Holcombe

DAVID OLNEY & ANANA KAYE

BUSK THE SPECTRAL STREETS OF MEMORY

ON NEW ALBUM WHISPERS AND SIGHS,

WHERE AMERICANA MEETS EASTERN EUROPE

MARCH 19TH 2021 marks the release of the final studio album by the late David Olney, beloved folk songwriter’s songwriter, in collaboration with Anana Kaye, 

a young Eastern European powerhouse taking Americana by storm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If the futile longing to reach back through memory and grasp what is in the past could be set to music, it would sound like Whispers and Sighs. Over the course of 13 tracks, David Olney and Anana Kaye manage to craft a journey that amounts to far more than just another Americana album. This is to be expected with Olney, an acclaimed songwriter responsible for more than 20 solo albums and songs covered by and/or co-written with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and Linda Ronstadt, among many others. Further, just as Townes Van Zandt reportedly saw something special in him, Olney felt a similar admiration and kinship towards Kaye, a smoky-voiced Americana darling whose star is assuredly on the rise in Nashville, and her husband and musical partner Irakli Gabriel, both of whom are originally from the country of Georgia. 

On Whispers and Sighs, the pair create a unique, sonic landscape that blends the haunting sensuality of European music with the raw intimacy of Americana, weaving raucous, unapologetic rock anthems like “Lie to Me, Angel” and “Last Days of Rome” with sparse, introspective ballads such as “Tennessee Moon” and the record’s title track. All of the songs were written by the trio of Olney, Kaye, and Irakli. In addition, longtime Olney collaborator and hit songwriter John Hadley earns co-writing credits on a few. 

Brett Ryan Stewart (Wirebird Productions) produced and mixed the record at his studio in Nashville. Stewart is another rising star in his field, having garnered Grammy consideration for projects he’s helmed, along with notable TV and film placements. Richard Dodd, recipient of the Best Engineer Grammy Award for Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, mastered the project. Whispers and Sighs features an impressive array of Nashville musicians and vocalists — perhaps most notably Olney’s long-time musical collaborator and bassist Daniel Seymour, and bassist Chris Donohue, who has worked with such artists as Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, and Elvis Costello.

All in all, Whispers and Sighs is an Americana record that explores what it means to be human. Over its course, Olney and Kaye take turns leading the listener through intimate self-portraits, myths, and tales of historical fiction, all in an effort to illustrate the various devices we use to cope with our own impermanence. Though the project deals heavily in weighty, existentialist themes, the prevailing message proves to be a celebration of human connection, friendship, and love. As Olney put it in 2019, “We have no idea where the songs come from, but they bring a peace of mind like an old photograph of home. Wherever that may be.”

And while it’s hard to escape the seeming cosmic significance of the album as posthumous Olney release, at no point does this create the air of morbidity; rather, it lends the project a bittersweet ambiance. According to Anana and Irakli, mere moments after hitting save on the final mixes, the phone rang with news of David’s passing. This seems tragically fitting; for what is found on Whispers and Sighs is a collection of songs into which two artists and friends clearly poured the full extent of their souls. Within it is an undeniable reminder that David Olney’s extraordinary legacy can never fade, while Anana Kaye’s star grows deservedly brighter by the day.

Onward. To the 19th!