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XPN Fest Recap: Offa Rex transports the BB&T to the Olde English isles

Offa Rex | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Offa Rex is the new collaboration between The Decemberists and English folk singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney, and if the crowd was expecting to hear a Decemberists-heavy set geared towards fans of the beloved indie rock band they were in for a surprise. The set focused on Offa Rex’s debut album The Queen of Hearts, released July 14th on Nonesuch, but did include one cover of a Decemberists song, “Rox in the Box.” The billing that always seems to accompany Offa Rex is the parenthetical “(The Decemberists + Olivia Chaney),” but it is now clear that this is more informative than descriptive.

The collaboration was brought to life out of Decemberists’ Colin Meloy desire to create an Albion Band-backing-Shirley Collins-type project, and that’s exactly what was realized as the Decemberists act as the backing band for Chaney’s clear, haunting vocals. The Queen of Hearts reimagines classic folk songs found in the British Isles, and the role of 60’s folk hero troubadours appears to be a natural one for The Decemberists to step into, simply eliminating the “alternative” from their “alt-folk” classification.

I half expected them to walk on stage wearing period costumes, but there was no such luck. Continue reading →

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Watch Offa Rex add a psychedelic groove to the traditional folk song “Blackleg Miner”

Offa Rex | photo courtesy of the artist
Offa Rex | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

New group Offa Rex is the beautiful folky brainchild between indie outfit The Decemberists and singer-songwriter  Olivia Chaney. The collaborative project, which is rooted in traditional British folk music, will debut their upcoming album Queen of Hearts on July 7th. But before then, the band has released a video for their take on the historic song, “Blackleg Miner.” Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Olivia Chaney

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Olivia Chaney’s music can be described as removed from time. The English songwriter and balladeer distills the essence – the blood, sweat, and tears, the love, life, and death from the songs she performs. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cruisr at Johnny Brenda’s, Olivia Chaney at The Tin Angel, Baker Man at The Fire and more

Cruisr | Photo by John Vettese
Cruisr | Photo by John Vettese

Philly summertime jammers Cruisr are having a pretty good year between their recent Go For It single, their upcoming Wells Fargo Center show (!) opening for Imagine Dragons, and tonight’s hometown headlining slot at Johnny Brenda’s. Party on with the guys, as well as the equally-awesome Tutlie and Suburban Living, beginnning at 9 p.m. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →