David Olney | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On his new album, Migration (Loud House), singer-songwriter David Olney uses mythology, religion, and other broad metaphors to tackle everyday themes; "Lenora" imagines two lovers as a pair of birds, one of which gets shot down by a hunter's rifle. The material often runs the risk of becoming insufferably precious, but Olney has a rough, low-key delivery that redeems even his most overwrought imagery. His baritone croon is appealingly muted, as if he's telling a secret, and his voice easily conveys desperation, melancholy, fear, and sensuality. He can also be mordantly funny: On "My Lovely Assistant" he applies a rollicking oompah melody to John Hadley's lyrics, which portray a brokenhearted magician exacting revenge on his cheating assistant by really and truly sawing her in half. It gives you the unsettling feeling that Olney's enjoying the story a little too much. Thu 6/23, 8 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 312-559-1212, $12.

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