The road ends, but the journey continues...

RIP David Olney

David: I didn’t know your songs until you passed away and I watched a CNN short video in tribute to your life and contributions to the musical world.

Dying while doing what one loves most is a blessing, but still hurtful for those left behind.
…Wish I had ‘known’ you sooner…

RIP David Olney: March 23, 1948 – January 18, 2020

About ‘Death Will Not Divide Us’

David often draws inspiration for his music from classic poetry and literature as well as The Greatest Story Ever Told a/k/a The Bible. A true troubadour, many of his tunes touch on social issues of the day. This track is one of ten on his album, “This Side or The Other.” While not a concept album, David alludes to several recurrent themes. One of which is the frequent reference to walls.
His essay, “Taking Sides and Building Walls” begins, “The Wall is in the news.Trump’s Wall.”
Then David continues to touch on various other walls, “…the infamous Berlin Wall…the Great Wall of China…Hadrian’s Wall…In the Middle Ages, cities built walls around Jewish ghettos. The rationale on the part of the State was that the walls helped protect the Jews. The Holocaust put an end to that particular line of logic.”
‘DEATH WILL NOT DIVIDE US’ was co-written with Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly). David says, “I wanted to catch the spirit of Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 38 and 39*. I love Abbie’s line, ‘There’s a moment of decision when the ground comes up to meet us.’” The new music video echoes our ever-changing world with one constant, opening with a young girl joyfully dancing as she leads a parade of the past into the future. Her movements are whimsical, flowing and childlike while she dons a jester hat. Others follow her “blindly” dancing through town, wandering through historic sites and Romanesque buildings, trusting their fearless leader.
Personal Note: the bookstore in the video is a landmark in Nashville – McKay’s Used Books. A really cool place!

* Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


  1. Mary

    Thanks! I wasn’t aware of David Olney.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Me neither, till his passing.

  2. Deborah Brasket

    Love that joyous dancing girl in the video! And the music too. Especially the message: death will not divide us. A lovely place to visit this Sunday morning.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Me, too! Did you notice she trips over her feet in clumsiness (that I can totally relate to) – but just keeps on doing her happy-dances.

  3. Jane Chesebrough

    Thanks for the introduction. I listened more to the lyrics the first time , then watched the video more the second time, interesting with the dancing, the child an blindfolded adults, as well as the art by the masters.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re more of a music connoisseur than you give yourself credit for: listening one way, then another – each bring out different aspects to the music. I personally like to listen without ‘seeing’ as it distracts me in the evaluation of the quality of the recording, the structure of the music itself, etc. That way I am less prone to being manipulated by someone else’s interpretation. THEN I like to explore the perspectives, views, feelings of others on the same piece…TBI, I know!

  4. tierneycreates

    I see from some other blog posts on this passing that he died on stage. Seems like he passed doing what he loved. I was not familiar with his name but I see he wrote songs with Linda Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris and other great performers during his career.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The circumstances of his death were part of what drew me into the initial CNN video…
      Thanks for stopping by, Tierney!

  5. Ally Bean

    I don’t know of this man, but like all good things eventually I catch on! Thanks for the video and the info. Love that little girl’s red shoes in the video– which has a catchy tune going on.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh I know, that little girl’s glasses are fantastic, too!

  6. Andy

    Enjoyed that, added it to a playlist. Reminded me a little of some of Cash’s later work.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The music of Nashville has a very distinct sound/history – hence the connection. However, what I especially like about new-to-me David Olney is that his lifelong body of work goes outside those edges, too.

  7. Janis

    Thank you for the introduction to BO. Powerful song and images.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for checking him out, too!
      ps-just got back from SDCA on a business transaction and wish it wasn’t so darn expensive to live there…you lucky duck

      • Janis

        I just saw this… you were in my town and didn’t get in touch? Next time, for sure 🙂

        • laura bruno lilly

          Well…remember I was stuck in the hotel room sick…but I agree: next time for sure!

  8. Laura

    So glad that you shared, Laura! I have never heard of DO and his message is strong! 🙂

    • Laura

      So…I went to You Tube to check out DO. You have sent me on a rabbit trail! And it is a good one!

      • laura bruno lilly

        Yay! Glad to hear I got your musical-explorations jump-started…my discoveries lead me to some other musicians (tho all who are still very much alive) which I’ll be blogging about in future posts.
        Happy rabbit trailing!!!!

  9. Catherine de Seton

    as soon as you mentioned the bookstore, I scrolled back up – I hadn’t been watching the clip, just listening…yep the book store looks absolutely a treasure trove – awesome offerings…David O has a very clear message and voice, thanks for sharing…

    • laura bruno lilly

      I hesitated about the bookstore mention, but it is such a ‘treasure trove’ as you say and I couldn’t resist the mention! I see it caught your attention which made it all the more rewarding for me to do!

  10. L. Marie

    I wasn’t familiar with this song or David Olney. I always learn something when I read your posts, Laura. What a powerful song!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hi, L.Marie – I’d never heard of DO either until the obit clip on CNN. I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me music and am thrilled to share my discoveries!

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