Nashville singer-songwriter David Olney has died while performing on stage after he apologised to the crowd and closed his eyes.
The 71-year-old Nashville artist suffered an apparent heart attack during a performance last night (January 18) at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. A doctor in the audience assisted in an effort to revive him, but Olney did not respond.
Amy Rigby, an artist who was performing alongside Olney, shared the news on Facebook.
“David Olney, a beautiful man, a legend, a songwriting poet died last night,” her post began. “Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes.
“He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket we laughed about because it was raining like hell outside the boathouse where we were playing – I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment.”
David Olney, a beautiful man, a legend, a songwriting poet died last night. I was sitting next to him in the round, had…
Posted by Amy Rigby on Sunday, January 19, 2020
She added: “It’s hard to post about this because I can’t really believe he’s gone. I am so sorry for his wife and family and friends and all the people who loved him and his music. Even those who never heard of him.”
Earlier in the day, Olney was recorded singing at a 30-minute Acoustic Interlude session with local radio station WUWF 88.1. you can watch it below.
Olney, a Rhode Island native, helped broaden the horizons of American roots music throughout his five-decade career, for which he spent most of in Nashville since arriving there in 1973.
His discography includes more than 20 solo albums with 2018’s ‘This Side or the Other’ his most recent. He also received high praise for his song ‘Deeper Well’, which was recorded by Emmylou Harris on her Grammy-winning 1994 album ‘Wrecking Ball’.
Olney’s official website referred to him as: “A key member of Nashville’s music community since his move to Music City in 1973.”