David Olney

Nashville lifer is nobody's dummy

In one of those freak Nashville accidents, Olney approached Nashville vet Jack Irwin, who owned a studio close to Olney's, to record some demos of the songs.

"I really only knew him from conversations at a local coffee shop, but we did a couple of loose sessions at his place and it clicked," Olney says. "We came up with a sound that straddled jazzy New Orleans blues on one end and rockabilly on the other."

Olney was also changing up his live show, and his other secret weapon at the sessions for One Tough Town was guitarist Sergio Webb.

David Olney would not like fries with that.
David Olney would not like fries with that.

Details

David Olney and Sergio Webb perform 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, at Under the Volcano, 2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282. No cover.

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"No matter what you do as a solo performer, it's hard to do a show by yourself where the dynamic of the thing doesn't become somewhat static," he says. "Sergio coming in was a huge factor in upping my game."

While both instrumentalists are electrifying, Olney credits Webb with widening the possibilities of both the live shows and recording.

"Having Sergio has made me rethink a lot of what I was doing. It's not a competition, but he's given me a chance to do more interesting guitar work myself," Olney says. "Sometimes we'll have five or six instruments onstage, and that kind of flexibility brings a much wider scope and sound to the stage. Bringing Sergio in really upped the bar."

With his dark fedora and lived-in face, Olney hardly seems like a techie, but he credits Web sites like MySpace and YouTube with giving independent artists meaningful and inexpensive contact with a wider audience. He's even posted a theatrical recitation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" online.

"I'm really encouraged and have gotten into the whole YouTube thing," Olney says. "These quick and dirty little videos people are shooting are much more intriguing than those super-slick, half-million-dollar shoots on the big cable television shows. It's like finding a beautiful rose sprouting right through a crack in a concrete ­sidewalk."

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