Olivia Chaney: Shelter review – gleaming vocal treats

July 16, 2018

Folk artists stepping into singer-songwriter territory are often treated with suspicion, as if their egos must be propelling them beyond the small stories of smaller people. But often, these musicians adore traditional music at the same time as they enjoy playing and writing in other genres.  collaborated on two folk song projects last year: Nonesuch’s impressive , featuring Natalie Merchant and Sam Amidon, and the stunning  project with the Decemberists (Chaney does a mean ). Chaney also sang on stage at Shirley Collins’  – at the artist’s request, if the traditionalists want to take issue. “Beautiful, moving, intelligent singing,” was Collins’ spot-on assessment.   Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras  Read more Chaney’s second solo album of originals comes produced by Thomas Bartlett, whose CV includes recent work with St Vincent, Ed Sheeran and Florence Welch, as well as a tribute to Pete Seeger, and an Irish folk band project, the Gloaming. As soon as , you fall into its warmly drawn, welcoming world. Its terrain feels like folk territory, too. Chaney’s voice is effortless, clear and bright, a beacon burning on an ancient, rolling hill, as her modern narratives arrive, subtly couching older details. Bells bring strangers, as a mother is late to collect her daughter from school. Demons persist, while protagonists wait to “befriend and face” them. New York’s Hudson flows while the singer thinks of older rivers (“cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh”), and the arrangements throughout, all piano and , are lovingly minimal.   This is not to provide a blasting showcase for Chaney, as there is little ego on this record, and her talents at delivery and depth ripple through softly but persuasively. The ghosts of Sandy Denny’s early 1970s solo albums are never very far away, but what gleaming ghosts those are to carry with you.   Other folk picks Toby Hay’s lush, instrumental second album, The Longest Day, is another impressive flag waved by this talented guitarist, whose last album was nominated for the Welsh music prize. The ’s Off the Hook is a masterclass in traditional jigs and reels, its fiddle, bouzouki and whistle turned up to 11. Also, don’t miss Sharron Kraus’s , another fascinating release by this underrated artist, fluttering uncannily but brilliantly on the softer edges of psych-folk.

Folk artists stepping into singer-songwriter territory are often treated with suspicion, as if their egos must be propelling them beyond the small stories of smaller people. But often, these musicians adore traditional music at the same time as they enjoy playing and writing in other genres. Olivia Chaney collaborated on two folk song projects last year: Nonesuch’s impressive Folk Songs compilation, featuring Natalie Merchant and Sam Amidon, and the stunning Offa Rex project with the Decemberists (Chaney does a mean Willie O’Winsbury). Chaney also sang on stage at Shirley Collins’ birthday celebrations – at the artist’s request, if the traditionalists want to take issue. “Beautiful, moving, intelligent singing,” was Collins’ spot-on assessment.

Chaney’s second solo album of originals comes produced by Thomas Bartlett, whose CV includes recent work with St Vincent, Ed Sheeran and Florence Welch, as well as a tribute to Pete Seeger, and an Irish folk band project, the Gloaming. As soon as Shelter begins, you fall into its warmly drawn, welcoming world. Its terrain feels like folk territory, too. Chaney’s voice is effortless, clear and bright, a beacon burning on an ancient, rolling hill, as her modern narratives arrive, subtly couching older details. Bells bring strangers, as a mother is late to collect her daughter from school. Demons persist, while protagonists wait to “befriend and face” them. New York’s Hudson flows while the singer thinks of older rivers (“cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh”), and the arrangements throughout, all piano and quiet guitar, are lovingly minimal. 

This is not to provide a blasting showcase for Chaney, as there is little ego on this record, and her talents at delivery and depth ripple through softly but persuasively. The ghosts of Sandy Denny’s early 1970s solo albums are never very far away, but what gleaming ghosts those are to carry with you.

Other folk picks

Toby Hay’s lush, instrumental second album, The Longest Day, is another impressive flag waved by this talented guitarist, whose last album was nominated for the Welsh music prize. The Alistair McCulloch Trio’s Off the Hook is a masterclass in traditional jigs and reels, its fiddle, bouzouki and whistle turned up to 11. Also, don’t miss Sharron Kraus’s Joy’s Reflection Is Sorrow, another fascinating release by this underrated artist, fluttering uncannily but brilliantly on the softer edges of psych-folk.

from The Guardian

Comment and join the conversation




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Cool Reads & Blogs

Yoko Ono Reimagines "Woman Power" & Female Liberation, 45 Years Later

August 22, 2018

Yonk Ono rules and remembers

Peace, Love, strength and Yoko Ono. They fit like hand in glove. Now Yoko revisits her past through her latest album Warzone (out October 19) and remembers our history so she can help influence our future - right on time.

Continue Reading

Reap What You Sow- A Night with ELO

August 16, 2018

A magical night of ELO and a concert full of love and amazing surprises - Groupie designer and contributor, Devyn Severson, shares her fun-filled story with us all.  Thanks Dev

Continue Reading

Miss P chats it up with New York DJ Alix Brown

August 14, 2018

New York DJ Alix Brown chats it up with Miss P

New York DJ and girl about town, Alix Brown, recently spent a few LA nights on the town with our own Miss Pamela. A little fun and girl-talk go a long way when you're trying to balance career, creativity and personal fulfillment. Join the party.

Continue Reading

Sign up for news, deals and steals