Musician David Olney Dies On Stage During Florida’s Songwriter’s Festival

Brenda Watkins
January 20, 2020

According to songwriter Amy Rigby, who was performing alongside Olney on January 18 at the 30A Songwriters Festival, Olney died onstage during a performance.

Olney became still during his performance, which was assumed to be him taking a moment to rest, but then, those nearby realized what was happening and lowered him to the stage.

David Olney, a longtime singer-songwriter, died during a performance on Saturday at 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, according to reports. "He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a attractive rust suede jacket", she wrote on social media.

She added: "Scott Miller had the presence of mind to say we needed to revive him".

"The world lost a good one last night", Miller wrote. He also recorded for Rounder later in his prolific career as a solo artist, along with other labels like Philco.

His sounds would be covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury and Steve Young.

At first, festival staff and audience members thought Olney was "just taking a moment", Rigby wrote.

He later formed the band The X-Rays, who recorded two albums and opened for Elvis Costello.

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"Last night we lost David Olney, one of the finest songwriters I have had the pleasure of playing with and knowing. I mean that from my heart".

On the day he died, Olney was asked what he was up to.

Olney was well known in the folk-rock and Americana music communities.

Upon hearing of his friend's passing, musician Dave Alvin wrote, "Left my show at McCabe's tonight, turned on my phone and saw the shocking news that the magnificent songwriter David Olney had passed away".

"Wow. Just found out about David Olney's last performance".

In a statement posted on Olney's website, Emmylou Harris, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, paid tribute to the singer's ability to tell "marvellous stories with characters who cling to the hope of enduring love".

Olney is survived by his wife Regine, son Redding and daughter Lillian.

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