Americana singer-songwriter David Olney died while doing what he loved – playing music – at the age of 71. The Rhode Island native passed after falling silent and dropping his head during a performance at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Saturday night.
While some news reports say the artist “collapsed” on stage, his actions were such that lead his band mates to believe that he was taking a rest mid-set. Olney was giving his second showing of the day as part of an “in the round” song-swap show with fellow singer Amy Rigby. His first exhibit can be seen here.
“Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized, and shut his eyes,” Rigby (who was sitting right next to him at the time) wrote on Facebook. “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 first became known as a member of the X-Rays, a band that was signed to the Rounder label in the early 1980s and opened for acts like Elvis Costello. He also recorded for Rounder later in his prolific career as a solo artist, along with other labels like Philco.