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The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney Announce Collaborative Album as Offa Rex, Release “Queen of Hearts”

The Decembrists have returned with a new project: backing UK singer/songwriter Olivia Chaney in a collaborative band called Offa Rex. Co-produced by Colin Meloy, the group’s debut LP Queen of Hearts–which will consist mostly of takes on English, Irish, and Scottish traditional music–will be out on July 7 on Nonesuch Records. The group will also play numerous North American tour dates in July and August, including performances at the Newport Folk Festival and New York City’s Town Hall.

Chaney and Meloy stopped by NPR to talk about the project on Friday, and performed the title track from the album–derived from a poem that likely dates back to the 17th century–which is driven by Chaney’s harpsichord-y keyboard tones and boasts a distinctly Renaissance-Faire-ready feel. Check out the performance, along with the album art and track list, below, and listen to Chaney and Meloy discuss the project here.

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