Migration (Loud House)
The Wheel (2003), David Olney's debut on the local Loud House label, was a near-perfect production, a brave and unusual song cycle. The veteran Nashville performer is back with Migration, a well-matched companion to the previous work. The 11 tracks are packed with wonderfully crafted songs: the gypsy strains of "The Song," soothing "Light From Carolina," and the powerful "Speak Memory." Migration also proves Olney is as strong a solo songwriter ("Speak Memory") as he is a collaborator ("All the Same to Me" with Gwil Owen). With the tender sway of "Lenora," Olney swears allegiance to love: "Tonight we will gaze at the stars in the sky. Tell me, Lenora, do they laugh, do they cry?" Olney's sense of humor is on display with the clever "My Lovely Assistant," written with John Hadley, again ruminating on age-old questions of the heart: "Love is the ultimate mystery. Love is its own crystal ball. Love is the perfect illusion. It's really not magic at all." "Upside Down" closes the disc with Olney's signature bite, visceral vocals delivered in gospel rhythm. If his next album is anywhere close to these last two, Olney might be his own toughest act to follow.
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