David Olney and Anana Kaye
Whispers and Sighs
A Legend Adds To His Legacy With a Boundary Shifting Closing Act.
Whispers and Sighs starts off right away telling you it’s going to be a bit different with an oh-too-short instrumental called “The Station” that’s a little bit classical and mournful, with a bit of gypsy flourish too, which levitates you to another time and place, setting the scene for this wonderful collection of songs by relative newcomer violinist Anana Kaye and legendary folk singer David Olney.
For newcomers, Olney was a rock and folk musician who recorded twenty albums in his fifty years in the business and was a songwriter with few equals.Sadly, he died doing what he loved best, passing away early last year, of an apparent heart attack while onstage, three songs into a songwriter festival in Florida.
David Olney lived music, a true troubadour to the end. Whispers and Sighs is his final album, a mixture of Americana, rock and folk with a healthy dose of gypsy fiddle tunes supplied by Kaye who also provides vocals on a number of tunes.
Anana Kaye, originally from the European country of Georgia, brings plenty of spitfire and a decidedly European air to the overall ambience.
Kaye takes the spotlight on a few songs such as the wistfully hypnotic “My Last Dream of You” and the toe tapping rocking dance pop (by the way of some decidedly Keef-esque guitar) on “Last Days of Rome.”
Kaye’s voice is winsome and breathy, and at times it reminds me a bit of Gina Birch from the Raincoats— and she can snarl rightly when required!
Speaking of voices, Olney himself, is in fine voice throughout this album, whether it’s his velvety tones on “My Favorite Goodbye” or his commanding reading at the end of “Last Days of Rome,” which adds to the tension of the song already created by Kaye; and the wonderful production by Irakli Gabriel.
The whole album grows on you a bit as you dig deeper into the cuts.
The production by Gabriel is simple, yet to the point.
Nothing wasted, nothing missing, from the warm nostalgia of “Behind Your Smile” and it’s sweet string section, to the punchy drums, rolling fuzzbass, and searing guitars of “Lie To Me” which features a surprising piano break.
Olney wasn’t just folk, he played in rock outfits too, and this album showcases his willingness to take a song to its limits to make it work whatever the genre.
Olney wasn’t one to rest on his laurels, and this album is definitely a fine testament to his legacy.
“A beautiful record. Only wisdom and deep experience can make music like this.” — Mike Scott, The Waterboys
Review by Roy Peak
Released 19th March 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
David Olney Back Catalogue