The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

by Offa RexOffa Rex


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Confessed Anglophile Colin Meloy's affinity for U.K. folk music finally comes full circle on The Queen of Hearts, a meticulously crafted collaboration between the Decemberists and English folk artist Olivia Chaney. Comprising strictly traditional fare, the songs that make up Offa Rex's debut will be familiar to fans of the style, as many of their definitive versions have arrived via genre heavyweights like Anne Briggs, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Ewan MacColl, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span. The latter two acts figure most prominently on the 11-track set, with the supremely talented Chaney channeling Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior, delivering pitch-perfect takes on seasoned tales both bucolic and brooding. Meloy and company also adopt the Span/Convention template, fleshing things out with spindly electric guitars, fiddle, and lumbering drums -- the group's take on "Blackleg Miner" hews so closely to the 1970 Steeleye version that it almost verges on karaoke. The secret weapon here is Chaney, whose excellent 2015 debut, Longest River, rightly evoked comparisons to Joni Mitchell and June Tabor. Her command impresses throughout, especially on some of the more pastoral numbers like "Old Churchyard," "Willie o' Winsbury," and the knotty Dreamboat Annie-era Heart-inspired title cut, and her presence helps to even out some of the album's more distended offerings, like the doomy psych-rock outlier "Sheepcrook and Black Dog." All nitpicking aside, Queen of Hearts is as committed a piece of retro-leaning English folk-rock as one could hope for -- there's even some Morris dance music. Meloy and Chaney's genuine love for the source material is apparent throughout, and while it may not bring anything too new to the table, it still makes for a delicious spread.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/14/2017
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597939996
catalogNumber: 558638
Rank: 159577

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Offa Rex   Primary Artist
Ralph Carney   Bass Clarinet,Wind Instruments
John Moen   Drums,Gong,Group Member
Nate Query   Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Upright Bass,Group Member
Chris Funk   Mandolin,Autoharp,Electric Guitar,Hammered Dulcimer,Group Member
Colin Meloy   Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guitar (Nylon String),Guitar (12 String Acoustic),Group Member
Jenny Conlee   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Group Member
Steve Drizos   Conga
Anna Fritz   Cello
Mirabai Peart   Viola,Background Vocals
Olivia Chaney   Piano,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Vocals,Background Vocals,Electric Harpsichord,Group Member

Technical Credits

Ewan MacColl   Composer
Maddy Prior   Composer
June Tabor   Arranger
Robert Johnson   Composer
John Moen   Arranger
Lal Waterson   Composer
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Tucker Martine   Producer,Engineer
Nate Query   Arranger
Traditional   Composer
Peter Knight   Composer
Chris Funk   Arranger
Colin Meloy   Arranger,Producer
Jenny Conlee   Arranger
Shervin Lainez   Back Cover Photo
Nick Steinhardt   Art Direction
Olivia Chaney   Arranger
Timothy Hart   Composer
Michael Finn   Engineer
Samantha Muljat   Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo
Frederick Kemp   Composer

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