Singer-songwriter David Olney, a revered pioneer in the field of Americana covered by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and others, died suddenly while performing onstage Saturday evening. He was 71.
DailyMail.com reports the musician was appearing at the 3OA Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, when he announced, "I'm sorry," lowered his head to his chest, and went silent.
Fellow performer Amy Rigby remembered Olney on Facebook, writing of his passing, "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."
Olney was an influential member of the Nashville community for nearly 50 years, ever since relocating there from his native Rhode Island. His theatrical concerts blended Shakespearean sonnets with his characteristically story-fueled songs.
Olney is survived by his wife, Regine, his daughter and his son.