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ROCK HALL ADDS
FIVE TO BOARD
OK, Boomers! (2/19a)
YOUR TOP 20 BRING CHANGES TO THE TOP
Bieber brings it. (2/20a)
THE WEEKND OPENS AFTER HOURS
Is 3/20 the new 4/20? (2/19a)
THE ROTATION
Take a wild guess. (2/20a)
CAPALDI WINS A PAIR AT THE BRIT AWARDS
...while Billie and Tyler add to their trophy shelves. (2/19a)
DON'T TALK TO THE PRESS
Also, don't leak the memo about not talking to the press to the press. Please.
GRAMMY VOTING
How the sausage is made.
BIEBER'S BIG BOW
Changes changes the conversation.
PRIMARIES
So hard to decide...
Critics' Choice
OFFA REX: BOW BEFORE THE QUEEN
7/6/17

About 45 seconds into "Sheepcrook and Black Dog," a track from The Queen of Hearts, the forthcoming Nonesuch set from Offa Rex (due 7/15), I said something I don't often say these days: 

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

The Zeppelin-esque riff rock that kicks off the tune gives way to gorgeous, authentic English folk, and the effect is electrifying. The band is an inspired collaboration between Portland pop-rock provocateurs The Decemberists and English artist Olivia Chaney, whose grasp of classic Celtic song is as profound as anyone's—and whose voice is a gift from heaven. 

While the rest of Queen isn't quite as heavy, it is relentlessly riveting, and a showcase of the participants' musical versatility. Among the other highlights: the beguiling title track, the rousing, politically charged "Blackleg Miner," a gorgeous take on Ewan McColl's evergreen "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and the stately memento mori "The Old Churchyard."

What's perhaps most staggering is that these songs are all either traditional or well-aged standards in the folk canon; Offa Rex's interpretations (driven by Chaney's canny arrangements) sparkle with immediacy. 

You can hear the whole thing here, thanks to an NPR advance stream. It's a a welcome drink from the deepest of wells.