For over 30 years singer-songwriter David Olney has been a fixture in the Nashville music scene. His songs grow out of the storytelling branch of American roots music and include some of a spiritual nature, such as “Jerusalem Tomorrow.” His compositions have been performed by many artists, including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash and Linda Ronstadt. Olney is a Presbyterian.
What first drew you to writing songs that tell stories and are driven by characters?
When I first got interested in music, folk music was a big deal, noted for groups like Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio. If you went a little deeper into that music, you quickly ran into Woody Guthrie and the blues and ballad traditions. The songs I liked to listen to were story songs—even outlaw songs like “Pretty Boy Floyd.”