The Queen of Hearts Offa Rex
Label: Nonesuch, Nonesuch Records
Subgenre: Folk Rock
Artist: Offa Rex
Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)
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- 1The Queen of Hearts03:54
- 2Blackleg Miner02:22
- 3The Gardener04:59
- 4The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face03:31
- 5Flash Company04:14
- 6The Old Churchyard04:07
- 7Constant Billy (Oddington) / I'll Go Enlist (Sherborne)01:56
- 8Willie o' Winsbury07:30
- 9Bonny May06:31
- 10Sheepcrook and Black Dog04:34
- 11To Make You Stay04:57
Info for The Queen of Hearts
„The Queen of Hearts“ is the debut album from Offa Rex, an adventurous new project featuring English singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists. Produced and recorded by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case) and Colin Meloy at Martine's studio in Portland, OR, and mostly arranged by Chaney, the thirteen tracks on The Queen of Hearts draw largely on traditional English-Irish-Scottish repertoire to create a transatlantic musical conversation that flirts with psychedelia and folk rock while maintaining its own inimitable identity.
A few years ago, I had a chance to hear a record by a fantastic artist, one Olivia Chaney. She made a record called The Longest River and I was so taken by it, particularly her arrangement of the old folk song “The False Bride.” She seemed to me to be channeling the great female folk singers of the British folk revival: Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, June Tabor, Norma & Lal Waterson, Shirley Collins and Maddy Prior. We invited her to open a bunch of Decemberists shows in 2015 and afterward I made a pitch to her: let us be the Albion Dance Band to your Shirley Collins. Let’s start a band. Let’s make a record of old folk songs that will be as much about rediscovering ancient songs as it is an homage to that incredible era of British music, the 60s and 70s folk revival.
We rehearsed and arranged the songs out on my farm outside of Portland last summer; we recorded it with Tucker Martine at Flora Recording & Playback that fall. I sing two songs, Olivia sings eight of ’em. One of the songs is an instrumental medley of two old Morris dance tunes, arranged by Jenny on accordion.
Comprising resonant and impassioned vocals, flawlessly executed guitar work, and organ, Offa Rex are a psychedelic folk-rock collective made up of English singer/songwriter Olivia Chaney and Portland-based indie rock outfit the Decemberists. Stylistically akin to the folk talents of artists such as Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, Steeleye Span, and Fairport Convention, the project originated with a simple tweet between Chaney and the Decemberists' Colin Meloy (a huge fan of Chaney's 2015 debut The Longest River), which led to a conversation on the social media site. This resulted in Chaney opening for the Decemberists on a nationwide U.S. tour. Meloy asked Chaney if she'd ever entertained the idea of performing songs with a backing band -- he had the Albion Dance Band in mind. Chaney liked the idea, and Meloy's long-lived fantasy of starting a '60s-styled psychedelic folk band led to the birth of Offa Rex. The band’s debut full-length, The Queen of Hearts, arrived in the summer of 2017. Produced at Meloy's home studio in Portland alongside Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse) with arrangements handled by Chaney, the record displayed an eclectic and varied sound palette, which paid homage to various aspects of '60s folk-rock and psychedelia.