David Olney has never been an easy artist to pin down stylistically. He is essentially a folk-rocker, but during the course of an album, he is likely to incorporate anything from doo wop to blues to country. Olney can be dry-humored and quirky, or he can be melancholy; it all depends on the mood he is in. And while Olney hasn't always gone out of his way to be the most accessible singer/songwriter in the world, his albums are usually intriguing. Dutchman's Curve is no exception; there is plenty of intrigue on this 2010 release (musically as well as lyrically), and Olney keeps listeners guessing whether he is being humorous on "Train Wreck," moody on "I've Got a Lot on My Mind," or poignant on the country-influenced "The Moment I Tell You Goodbye." Olney's subject matter is diverse, ranging from a train robbery on "Covington Girl" to the life of French icon Edith Piaf on "Little Sparrow." Olney co-wrote "Little Sparrow" after seeing the 2007 film La Vie en Rose (starring Marion Cotillard), but the tune doesn't sound anything like French chanson; rather, it has more of a rockabilly flavor along the lines of Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, or Rick Nelson. And Olney's passion for 1950s pop culture also asserts itself on the Harry Warren standard "I Only Have Eyes for You"; Olney's doo wop-minded version recalls the Flamingos' famous 1959 arrangement, although it should be noted that "I Only Have Eyes for You" goes back to the Great Depression and has received plenty of attention from the jazz and cabaret worlds over the years. And it should also be noted that Olney turned 62 on March 23, 2010. Olney had a take-me-as-I-am attitude during his youth, and he isn't any less individualistic in his early sixties. Dutchman's Curve is unlikely to win over anyone who resisted Olney's recordings in the past, but longtime followers will be glad to know that he hasn't become any less interesting.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson