The Decemberists’ Next Excellent Adventure

The Decemberists Team With Olivia Chaney To Create Offa Rex


Indie Folk Rock Outfit The Decemberists Team With Olivia Chaney

The Result – A Band Called Offa Rex and a Record Called The Queen of Hearts


The Decemberists‘ lead singer Colin Meloy heard a record The Longest River by talented folk singer/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and was so taken by it, started a Twitter conversation and invited her to open a number of Decemberists’ shows in 2015 and ultimately to start a collaboration.  The aim?  To record and rediscover old folk songs as a ‘hats off’ the British 1960’s and 1970’s folk revival.

The new outfit, Offa Rex rehearsed and arranged the songs out on Meloy’s farm outside Portland, recorded it with Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback.

On July 7 2017, the resulting The Queen of Hearts will be released (via Nonesuch Records).  Mostly arranged by Chaney, the thirteen tracks on The Queen of Hearts draw largely on traditional English-Irish-Scottish repertoire to create a highly anticipated trans-atlantic musical collage.



Chaney says:

Every so often [on the tour] Colin and I would have these fleeting but quite intense conversations about songwriting and singing traditional songs.  One night he asked me, grinning, ‘Have you ever thought of having a backing group? We’ll be your Albion Dance Band.’

According to Meloy:

There’s this weird relationship between British and American music, this interesting trade and theft that goes back and forth. My hope was that if we—the neophytes, the dilettantes, the pretenders—brought Olivia to Portland to work with Tucker, perhaps these traditional British songs would be infused with something different.

Offa Rex will be touring the States, including performances at the Newport Folk Festival and Town Hall in New York.  They will also be performing at Travelers’ Rest, The Decemberists’ two-day curated festival in Missoula, Montana.  As well, Chaney will support The Decemberists during its American tour, during which she will join the band on stage to perform songs from The Queen of Hearts.  Tour dates HERE.

Here’s the track listing:

  1. The Queen of Hearts
  2. Blackleg Miner
  3. The Gardener
  4. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  5. Flash Company
  6. Old Churchyard
  7. Constant Billy (Oddington) / I’ll Go Enlist (Sherborne)
  8. Willie o’ Winsbury
  9. Bonny May
  10. Sheepcrook and Black Dog
  11. To Make You Stay

You can watch the clip for ‘The Queen of Hearts’ a song learned from English folk legend Martin Carthy below:






The Decemberists Team With Olivia Chaney To Create Offa Rex

The Decemberists Team With Olivia Chaney To Create Offa Rex




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Author: Rob Dickens

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