"THIS side or the other" song-by-song
David Olney discusses the inspiration behind the songs on "This Side Or The Other"
Always The Stranger
I think of Johnny Cash. The eternal outsider. I also think of all the refugees wandering through the world trying to find a safe and welcoming place to settle down. In the bridge, I pictured the Magi following a star through the desert, beyond all where and beyond all why.
A wall has a dual nature: it can protect or it can separate. When it does the first, that's a good thing. When it does the second, it's bad. John Hadley's painted image of the blackbird flying over the wall and back again really gets me. I suppose you need a wall to have a door. And you need a door to have a lock. And you need a lock to have a key. And on and on it goes.
Another older song of mine. Places on the border are where the action is, where the deal goes down. Sometimes the border is geographical like El Paso/Juarez, or political like Berlin, or spiritual like Jerusalem. We all live on the border somewhere.
More ruminating about the world of spies. We try to live in black and white and end up living in a world of grey.
Running From Love
This is an old song of mine. I had it in mind to write some songs about spies. Spies live in a shadow world where truths become lies and you always fear you are about to be caught. Strength, pride, freedom, assets in the real world, they all become liabilities in the world of espionage.
This Side Or The Other
I got the idea from the film, “The Town”. The movie is about Boston gangsters. A father in prison says this to his son. What a beautiful thing for a hard man to say. I took the idea to Anne McCue and John Hadley and we wrote this song. Anne sings on this one, too.
Death Will Not Divide Us
Written with my friend, Abbie Gardner. 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 McCrary Sisters rock the house on this.
Open Your Heart (And Let Me In)
To open your heart to someone is to make yourself vulnerable. You might get hurt. But that's the chance you have to take for love. Anne McCue is singing those angelic background vocals.
I've been working on this song, on and off, for 25 years. I finally got it finished while touring in Canada with Brock Zeman. Hope and dreams and work and love are all that separates us from despair. Stand tall.
She's Not There
Originally a hit for The Zombies. The overall effect, for me, is like a magic trick. You think you know where to find her (whoever she is) but presto! She's not there.