Review: David Olney “The Stone”

David Olney: The Stone
By Gerry Gomez, Staff Writer

The Stone, by literary songwriter, David Olney, is his attempt to tell the story of Easter from varying points of view. It poses some  questions as his version of the story gets painted through the eyes of several characters:  a con man, a donkey, a murderer and a soldier. When presented this way, it will surly give one a new perspective of their familiarity of the life and times of Jesus Christ and should make one wonder how accurately the story has been passed over these 2000 years.

“I hit on the idea of writing about the Easter story from the points of view of some of the peripheral characters. How did they respond to these events (whatever they were)?” says Olney.

“From different points of view, a story is told. A picture struggles to emerge. Nothing is proved. Nothing is denied,” he continues.

Olney is known for being a prolific writer and rich, humorous story teller. On The Stone, storytelling and poetry is the main highlight and the album is really a studied work and example of how to tell a thematic story through song. It’s surly a long-thought out work that elevates music to a literate art form.

In “Jerusalem Tomorrow,” Olney presents the story of a “magician” who works his way across the countryside using a cast of accomplices to carry out his carny tricks, ala an early history David Blaine. The song is a sparse, simple acoustic arrangement with tasty playing by Olney, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Irwin, guitarist Sergio Webb and bassist David Roe. Their collective playing set an almost theatrical setting to the tale.

“I was taking everything they had to give. It wasn’t all that bad a way to live,” sings Olney as the con man who is making his way town to town promising miracles. Taking pause at the end of the day, the con man meets a villager who tells him of the person who came through the previous month.

“Instead of calling down fire from above,” explains the man, “he just gets real quite and talks about love. And I’ll tell you something funny, he doesn’t want nobody’s money.”

The con, having been shown up by his “rival” decides to hook up with the stranger and the song ends as they head for “Jerusalem Tomorrow,” unaware of what will come of the new partnership.

“Who’s the brains behind this operation?” is the line that the thief uses to interrogate one of Jesus’ followers on the bluesy third track, “Brians.” The song is a bookend to “Jerusalem Tomorrow.” Was Jesus a rabble rouser? In this song, from this characters perspective, yes.

All the songs on The Stone are equally insightful and really painstakingly laid out. In this Easter season, in the year the world is supposed to end, it’s really thought provoking to think of the Easter story from these unique perspectives.

The Stone is worth the investment if your the sort who takes to conjecture about these most significant events in western civilization. Or even a person with an open mind to hear a different side to the story.

Learn more about David Olney at

Comments are closed.