English singer and songwriter Olivia Chaney defies categorization. Her classical background and traditional 17th century English folk music influences somehow combine into a modern pop sensibility. Portland Oregon’s The Decemberists also defy musical genres, ranging from upbeat pop to lush ballads and progressive rock.
Chaney’s performance as opening act on a Decemberists tour led to an invitation from band leader Colin Meloy to join the Decemberists in the studio. They’d essentially act as a backing band, interpreting her classic British folk music through their American indie-rock instrumentation.
The resulting side project, Offa Rex is a tribute as much as it is a translation. The Decemberists have often commended on the influence of British music, especially ’60s British folk, on their sound. With Offa Rex, they are recognizing that influence directly.
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