Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and recent BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards double nominee Olivia Chaney plays Band on the Wall in support of her album debut, The Longest River.
The New York Times said of a performance during a brief tour last month, “Whether she’s singing old songs or her own, Ms. Chaney destabilizes them, turning them into rhapsodic, immediate dramas, giving listeners a reason to hang on every phrase and inflection … Her voice holds the purity, tension, dignity and sorrow of a heritage full of songs about lost love and cruel fate. Ms. Chaney is thoroughly grounded in the past, from medieval music to [Joni] Mitchell. But in her quiet way, she’s radical.”
On The Longest River, Chaney balances her original compositions—including the two pieces that first brought her acclaim, “The King’s Horses” and “Swimming in the Longest River”—with a selection of covers that she has newly arranged and that illustrate the broad sweep of her taste: “Blessed Instant” by Norwegian jazz singer-composer Sidsel Endresen; an adaptation of 17th-century Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s “There’s Not a Swain”; 20th-century Chilean folk composer Violetta Parra’s “La Jardinera”; and “Waxwing,” from Scottish avant-folk singer-songwriter Alasdair Roberts.
Chaney graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and learned the guitar from her father’s renditions of Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, and Bert Jansch, among others. Since then she has built a loyal and growing following, both in the UK and internationally, through her acclaimed live performances, as a solo artist and also in collaboration with a diverse range of artists, including Alasdair Roberts, Zero 7, and The Labèque Sisters. In February 2013, she self-released her eponymous debut EP, which found her further fans with media and public alike, leading BBC Music to write “it confirms Chaney’s arrival as a major talent.”
‘Boldly eclectic…highly individual…elegantly impressive‘ The Guardian
‘A star in the making.’ The Independent